UN Chief Urges Independent Probe into Tanker Incident
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for an independent investigation to establish the facts and who was responsible for attacks on two oil tankers this week in the Gulf of Oman.
"It's very important to know the truth and it's very important that responsibilities are clarified. Obviously, that can only be done if there is an independent entity that verifies those facts," Guterres told reporters on Friday, adding that he believed only the Security Council could order a UN investigation.
UN political affairs chief Rosemary DiCarlo met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Friday on the sidelines of a Shanghai Cooperation Council meeting in Kyrgyzstan, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
He added that Guterres and his staff had been in contact with many of the countries concerned to tell them of the need to avoid any escalation.
Guterres, who condemned the attacks on the tankers, was speaking alongside Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit after the pair met.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday blamed Iran for the attacks on the Norwegian-owned MT Front Altair and the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous, citing intelligence, the weapons used, expertise required and similar recent attacks.
The US military released a video later on Thursday that allegedly shows Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps removing a mine from one of the targeted oil tankers after evacuation.
Germany’s foreign minister said that the video is insufficient evidence to prove Iran was behind the attacks.
The captain of the Kokuka also disputed the US assertion on Friday.
“Our crew said that the ship was attacked by a flying object,” said Yutaka Katada, president of ship operator Kokuka Sangyo.
Iran has denied any role in the event, and some observers have raised questions about whether the intelligence was being used as a pretext for the US to escalate conflict with the country and bring back Tehran to the negotiating table.