Zarif: Suspicious Acts of Sabotage Escalating Regional Tensions

U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress aircraft from Barksdale Air Force Base Louisiana arrive at Al Udeid Air Base Qatar Saturday

One editor noted there was also an attack at the Saudi Arabian Port of Yanbu in the Red Sea.

No one was killed in the attacks, Saudi Aramco, the kingdom's national oil company, said.

The recent attacks are acts of "terrorism and sabotage" that target not only Saudi Arabia but also "the security of world oil supplies and the global economy", Al-Falih said.

The Times report on Bolton's plan, which one critic described as "disturbing", comes just over a week after the national security adviser used the routine deployment of a us aircraft carrier and bomber task force to threaten Iran with military action.

The attacks demonstrated the increased risks in a region vital to global energy supplies amid heightened tensions following the Trump administration's withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, and the subsequent reimposition of US sanctions to cripple the Iranian economy.

"These attacks prove again that it is important for us to face terrorist entities, including the Houthi militias in Yemen that are backed by Iran", Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said in a statement.

Nearly all the oil exports of Saudi Arabia, Iraq, UAE, Kuwait, Qatar and Iran itself, at least 15 million barrels per day, are shipped through the Strait of Hormuz.

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European Union leaders are scrambling to save the 2015 nuclear deal, which the United States pulled out of a year ago.

The pipeline attacks follow a report that two Saudi ships were targeted in UAE waters on Sunday in alleged attacks that have not been claimed by any group.

"There are a number of reports carrying one or two U.S. officials saying the United States suspects Iran is behind this, but it's all based on assumptions".

Yet, the ministers and the EU High Representative said in their statement that "We are determined to continue pursuing efforts to enable the continuation of legitimate trade with Iran, including through the operationalization of the special goal vehicle "INSTEX"-the special objective payment vehicle that the EU set up earlier this year".

Oil prices rose Tuesday, with benchmark Brent crude trading over $71 a barrel, up more than $1 on the day.

A United States official familiar with American intelligence said Iran was a prime suspect in the sabotage although Washington had no conclusive proof. "Fortunately, the attack didn't lead to any casualties or oil spill; however, it caused significant damage to the structures of the two vessels".

A senior Iranian lawmaker said "saboteurs from a third country" could be behind it, after saying on Sunday the incident showed the security of Gulf states was fragile.

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Shortly after the Saudi announcement, Iran's Foreign Ministry called for further clarification about what exactly happened with the vessels.

Bolton and other top US officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have been warning of Iran's desire to escalate tensions in the region.

"This is a message to Saudi Arabia: Stop your aggression", Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdel-Salam told The Associated Press.

"It's going to be a bad problem for Iran if something happens, I can tell you that".

Bahrain, Egypt and Yemen's internationally recognised governments similarly condemned the alleged sabotage.

The development in Saudi's local conflict with the Houthis opens a new front in its regional struggle with Iran.

The Trump administration's sanctions are created to choke off Iran's oil exports in an effort to force Iran to accept more stringent limits on its nuclear and missile programs.

Wall St. whipsaws after Trump threatens China with further tariff
The U.S. already imposes a 10 percent tariff on $200 billion of goods and a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion of tech products. Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.55-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.48-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

US National Security Adviser John Bolton said last week that an aircraft carrier and bombers would be deployed to the region to counter unspecific Iranian threats.

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