The U.S. State Department has no doubt in its mind that Iran is responsible for this week's attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. That conclusion is based on "intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation" and more, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo explained in a press conference on Thursday. On Friday, U.S. authorities said they believe the Iranians even held the crew of one of the ships hostage.
Yet, Iran is denying it. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif went on a Twitter tirade instead blaming tensions in the region on Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the U.S. and its "economic terrorism" in the form of sanctions. He also condemned the U.S. for trying to undermine Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's recent visit to Iran to try and ease tensions. President Trump tweeted that he appreciated Abe's effort, but said it was "too soon" to try and strike a deal.
That the US immediately jumped to make allegations against Iran—w/o a shred of factual or circumstantial evidence—only makes it abundantly clear that the #B_Team is moving to a #PlanB: Sabotage diplomacy—including by @AbeShinzo—and cover up its #EconomicTerrorism against Iran.— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) June 14, 2019
Some misinterpretations necessitate a clarification: #B_Team is sabotaging diplomacy (including important and constructive visit of PM @AbeShinzo) and covering up #EconomicTerrorism by the U.S. against Iran.— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) June 14, 2019
This is the man who Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) recently felt compelled to dine with.
In a Fox News interview Friday, Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, said simply, "the Iranians are lying."
The "evidence is clear" that Iran was attacking vessels in retaliation to the U.S.'s pressure campaign, McCaul continued. But, the sanctions and the pressure must continue if they want to get Iran to start negotiating again.