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Two oil tankers in the Gulf Two oil tankers in the Gulf   (AFP or licensors)

Tensions rise after tanker attacks in Gulf

Saudi Arabia has accused Iran of conducting recent attacks on oil tankers along a key shipping route in the Gulf. The rise in tensions comes as Pope Francis appeals for dialogue and peace in a bid resolve the complex problems of the conflicts in the Middle East.

Tensions continued to rise in the region, with Saudi Arabia joining the United States in pointing the finger of blame at Iran for the recent attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.

Iran has described accusations as unfounded. Both ships were struck at dawn last Thursday by what U.S. military officials believe were mines.

On Sunday, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said his country would not hesitate to tackle any threats.

"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," Prince bin Salman said.

Soon after the incident, the United States Navy made public a video it claimed shows an Iranian navy boat disconnecting an unexploded limpet mine from the hull of one of two tankers.

One of the tankers is Norwegian-owned, and the other belongs to a Japanese shipping company.

Iran, though, has brushed off the accusations, with Foreign Minister Javad Zarif accusing Washington of making allegations ‘without a shred of factual or circumstantial evidence’.

Furthermore, Iran has accused the United States of aggressive behaviour.

16 June 2019, 13:13