The US military is investigating alleged sabotage attacks on four oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a US official has confirmed to Al Jazeera.
The move comes as Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif said his country had expected an event that would exacerbate tensions in the region.
The four ships – two Saudi, one Norwegian and one Emirati – were allegedly damaged by sabotage near the port of Fujairah on Sunday.
The incident occurred 140 kilometers south of the Strait of Hormuz, which accounts for about one-third of total oil traded by sea.
Al Jazeera's Rosiland Jordan, reported the US military from Washington was asked to participate in the investigation.
"A CENTCOM official confirms Al Jazeera that the US military is helping with their investigation at the request of the United Arab Emirates."
|Norwegian flagged oil trader MT Andrea Victory off the coast of Fujairah [UAE National Media Council via AP]|
The incident occurs amid fears in the Middle East that hawks in Washington want to provoke a military confrontation between the US and Iran.
During a visit to India, Zarif He discussed the incident with an oil tanker with Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj (19459004), adding that Iran had expected "escalating tension" from hardliners in the US and the Middle East the policy that hardliners in the US government and in the region try to impose, "Zarif said after a bilateral meeting with Swaraj against Iranian state television in India.
" We expressed concerns about the suspicious activity and sabotage that is taking place in our region, "added Zarif.
" We used to expect that they would undertake such activities to escalate tensions, "said the Foreign Minister.
Details of the alleged sabotage remained unclear, and representatives the UAE refused to say who was responsible in their view.
But it showed the increased Risks for shippers in a region of vital importance to the global energy supply as tensions between the US and Iran with regard to the dissolution of the nuclear agreement with the world increase.
US President Donald Trump has warned Iran that if he does "anything" in the form of an attack, he will "suffer severely."
US Military Plan
On Monday, the New York Times reported the Supreme Defense Secretary has submitted to the Trump administration an updated military plan to send up to 120,000 troops to the Middle East if Iran Attacking Armed Forces or Accelerating Work on Nuclear Weapons Patrick Shanahan presented the plan Thursday at a meeting of Trump's most important security aides.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Pentagon declined to comment.
Tensions between Iran and the United States have worsened since Trump left an international agreement in 2015 to curb Iran's nuclear activities and expose Tehran to increasingly stringent sanctions.
Trump wants to force Tehran to agree to a broader arms control agreement and has sent an aircraft carrier and B-52 bomber to the Gulf to defend themselves against the threats to US troops in the region, cited by US officials.
Iran has announced that the US is active "Psychological warfare" called the US military presence "more of a target" than a threat and said it would not allow oil exports to be stopped.
Trump's NSA John Bolton, CIA Director Gina Haspel, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, and Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford