Saudi Arabian crown prince blames Iran for twin oil tanker attacks in Gulf of Oman, says 'won't hesitate to tackle threats'

Riyadh: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman accused rival Iran of attacks on two oil tankers in a vital Gulf shipping channel, adding he "won't hesitate" to tackle any threats to the kingdom, according to excerpts of an interview published on Sunday.

"The Iranian regime did not respect the presence of the Japanese prime minister as a guest in Tehran and responded to his (diplomatic) efforts by attacking two tankers, one of which was Japanese," Prince Mohammed told pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, referring to the attacks in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday.

 Saudi Arabian crown prince blames Iran for twin oil tanker attacks in Gulf of Oman, says wont hesitate to tackle threats

File image of Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. AP

"We do not want a war in the region... But we won't hesitate to deal with any threat to our people, our sovereignty, our territorial integrity and our vital interests," he added.

The twin attacks sent crude prices soaring amid a tense standoff between Iran and the United States.

The Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous was carrying highly flammable methanol through the Gulf of Oman when it was rocked by explosions, causing a blaze that was quickly extinguished. Another tanker caught in the blaze was owned by Oslo-listed company Frontline.

The two vessels were targeted around the time Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was meeting with Iranian leaders in Tehran.

United States President Donald Trump said the attacks had Iran "written all over it". However, Tehran has vehemently denied any involvement.

Saudi Arabia, a close US ally, is a bitter regional rival of Iran. Iran has repeatedly warned in the past that it could block the strategic Hormuz Strait in a relatively low-tech, high-impact countermeasure to any attack by the United States.

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Updated Date: Jun 16, 2019 14:30:30 IST