Russian Experts: US Will Certainly Blame Gulf of Oman Incident on Iran!
We have Yelena Suponina online, the adviser to the director of the Russian Strategic Research Institute.
- Greetings, Ms. Suponina. What could be behind the tanker incident in the Gulf of Oman? Who could have provoked this conflict?
Yelena Suponina, political analyst: Good afternoon. That's not the first time tankers had been attacked in the Hormuz Strait. In addition, it's not the first incident that can lead to a very dangerous escalation. This time, the situation is even more disturbing. Oil prices have reacted almost immediately. Someone may benefit from the price growth but, in fact, the risks are so high that they overshadow any possible profits.
Since it's not the first attack, let's go back a month ago, when four tankers were attacked approximately in the same area. The perpetrator hasn't been identified yet. However, the states in the region blame one another. The US almost immediately pointed the finger at Iran. I assume we're going to hear similar allegations coming from Washington along with Saudi Arabia and the Emirates. However, Iran claims it has nothing to do with it. If we look at the power landscape in the region and think about the possible beneficiaries, we'd realize that Iran is not one of them.
- Meanwhile, the media reports that one of the tankers was carrying cargo associated with Japan. In this context, the Japanese Minister of Economy summoned an emergency meeting. Do you think that can be connected to the recent visit of the Japanese PM to Iran? Previously, it was reported that Abe may be a mediator between the US and Iran.
- Indeed, it can be indirectly connected with the recent visit of the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Tehran. It's the first summit between those two states in 50 years. Shinzo Abe had to prepare for the G20 summit, which is taking place in Japan on June 28, as you know. At that summit, he was ready to present mediator initiatives that would reduce the tensions between Iran and the US. The recent events in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz show that all mediator initiatives have been blown up like those two tankers. One of the attacked tankers was Japanese. It might've been an accident or a targeted attack. There's a high density of tanker traffic in this area. But even if a tanker of some other state got damaged, the effect would be very similar because more than 20% of the global oil trade traffic passes through this area, or even more, according to some information. But what did Shinzo Abe discuss in Tehran? He discussed oil trade opportunities for Iran. Right now, Washington is sure to throw new allegations at Iran, since the case looks like a predetermined process, right now, the sanctions against Iran will only get more severe. Meanwhile, Iran desperately needs to sell its oil abroad, including to Japan.
- Ms. Suponina, if you exclude the possibility that Iran might've been interested in the provocation, then, who could've provoked this conflict?
- There are several long-term conflicts in the region. They're ongoing. Last time, there were attempts to cast the blame on the mobile groups of Hussite rebels from Yemen. But there wasn't enough evidence. The incidents look like sabotage aimed to destabilize the situation. I'm sure that soon, everybody (or at least many people) will forget that it's necessary to identify the perpetrator. The US will be quick to point the finger at Iran and we'll see a new escalation in the region. It's obvious that those were acts of sabotage performed by some terrorist groups. But since Iran doesn't benefit from that, someone who aims to escalate the situation in the Persian Gulf must benefit from that.
- Thank you very much.
It was Yelena Suponina, the adviser to the director of the Russian Strategic Research Institute. I'll bring you up to speed on the incident. According to some sources, one of the two attacked tankers sank. According to other reports, both tankers are still afloat and on fire. We've also received reports from the Iranian authorities about them rescuing 44 crew members from one of the tankers. The people were evacuated. We got disturbing reports about Russian citizens possibly present on one of the tankers. We're monitoring the situation and will return to the crisis in the Gulf of Oman.