Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has claimed that the United States is considering a range of options in confronting Iran, including military recourse. The United States accused Iran of attacking Japanese ships. However, the Japanese claim that there is no firm proof yet that Iran was responsible.
Secretary Pompeo was quick to iterate that while all options are on the table, President Donald Trump still wants to avoid war. Trump came into office promising to untangle the United States from the ongoing conflicts in Iran, Iraq, and elsewhere.
Tensions have risen since two oil tankers were attacked in the Strait of Hormuz, a vital maritime shipping channel choke point between the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea. Iran has repeatedly denied that it was responsible for the attacks. The United States claims, however, that Iran had shot at American drones in a lead up to the attack. Also, a video has emerged showing what appears to be Iranian troops removing a mine from the side of a tanker.
The Japanese, however, claim that the evidence provided by the United States thus is “not convincing.” Further, the Japanese shipowner claims that the ship was struck by a flying object, not a mine. This ship was attacked twice in the space of three hours, forcing the crew to abandon ship. Yutaka Katada, president of the Kokuka Sangyo shipping company claims:
“The crew are saying it was hit with a flying object. They say something came flying toward them, then there was an explosion, then there was a hole in the vessel. Then some crew witnessed a second shot.”
Most likely, forensic investigations will be able to uncover whether or not a mine or missile was used.