On the 10th of October 2019, the government of Iran claimed that one of its oil tankers was attacked with missiles while in the waters off the coast of Saudi Arabia, but very few details are known about the incident.
State-run media in Iran says that the ship was hit with missiles about 60 miles from the port of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. The attack also had consequences for the ecosystem, creating an oil leak that is still making a mess of the Red Sea.
Numerous reports have suggested that the oil tanker was set on fire by the missiles and others sources indicated that there was an explosion, but all of these accounts have been denied by The National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC), who said that the ship may have been damaged but was still stable an operational.
Iranian state television said the explosion damaged two storerooms aboard the unnamed oil tanker Photo Credit: TWITTER
Photos that were later released through the Iranian media confirm these official statements, as the photos showed no signs of serious explosions, and the ship looked like it was in relatively good condition. In fact, the tanker is in such good condition that many western sources are questioning the authenticity of these claims.
TankerTrackers, which monitors oil exports, told the Telegraph that he believes this is a hoax from Iran that is aimed at artificially raising oil prices. There are also indications that the ship in question turned off its tracking transmitters, which is actually fairly common considering that there are so many trade sanctions against countries in the region.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani / Photo Credit: Aljazeera
This comes at a time of very high tensions in the Middle East, especially between Iran and its neighbors. In a previous incident this year, an Iranian tanker was seized while traveling to Syria because the vessel was suspected of carrying oil to the country, which would be a violation of EU sanctions. In response to the seizure, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard seized and detained the British-flagged tanker Stena Impero while it was sailing near Saudi Arabia.
Iran was then later blamed for an attack that occurred last month against oil fields in Saudi Arabia. No one was killed in the attack, but the United States government was quick to weigh in and make threats against Iran for their association with the revolutionary Houthi movement in Yemen, which is currently fighting against Saudi Arabia.
The Iranian government is highly suspicious that this attack came from Saudi Arabia, considering that the Saudi regime has the motive and capabilities to carry out such an attack, and there are very few other possible culprits.
Meanwhile, earlier this week, the government of Turkey began a full-scale bombing and invasion of northern Syria, which was previously controlled by the US-allied Kurds. The Turkish government claims that this offensive is targetted at terrorists and that the Kurdish people will be protected. However, in the days since the attacks have begun, many innocent Kurdish civilians have been reported killed or injured. As outrage about the military action grew, the president of Turkey made threats to sent millions of refugees to Europe if they had anything negative to say about it.