The sabotage attacks on four oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates last month bore the hallmarks of a “sophisticated and coordinated operation,” most likely carried out by a “state actor,” the United Nations Security Council learned Thursday.
Abdallah al-Mouallimi, the Saudi ambassador to the UN, said: “We believe that the responsibility for this action lies on the shoulders of Iran. We have no hesitation in making this statement.”
In a closed UN briefing session, Saudi Arabia – together with the UAE and Norway, which all had ships damaged in the attacks – presented the preliminary findings of a joint investigation into the May 12 incident. International partners, such as the United States and France, were also involved in the probe.
The statement blamed a “state actor” for the attacks but stopped short of specifically naming Iran.
“While investigations are still ongoing, these facts are strong indications that the four attacks were part of a sophisticated and coordinated operation carried out by an actor with significant operational capacity, most likely a state actor,” the statement read.
The three countries concluded that trained drivers with expert navigation expertise placed limpet mines with a high degree of precision on each of the four vessels with the intent to cause significant damage without sinking them.
The perpetrators therefore required a “high degree of co-ordination,” as well as technical and intelligence information of the geography and the ships themselves.
U.S. officials have already blamed Iran for the incident, with reports indicating that the U.S. Navy tracked a flotilla of small Iranian vessels from which they believe divers launched the attacks.
“There’s no doubt in anybody’s mind in Washington who’s responsible for this,” U.S. national security adviser John Bolton said last week during a visit to the UAE. He added that the attacks were the work of “naval mines almost certainly from Iran.”
The Pentagon accused Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) of being directly responsible for the attacks.
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