New photos released to bolster US allegations over Gulf
The Pentagon last night released new photos it says show that members of Tehran's Revolutionary Guard were responsible for attacks last week on two oil tankers near the Persian Gulf.
The images, many taken from a navy helicopter, show what the Pentagon said were Iranian forces removing an unexploded mine from the side of the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman.
Officials last week said the move appeared to be an attempt to remove forensic evidence from the scene of the attack, but it is not clear if examination of the mine would have made it definitively clear that the device was planted by the Revolutionary Guard.
Other photos show a large hole on the side of the Courageous, above the water line, that officials say appears to have been caused by a similar mine. The release of the photos came as the US works to convince members of Congress and international allies that the accusations against Tehran are true.
Iran has denied involvement in the tanker attacks and has accused America of promoting an "Iranophobic" campaign. However, Tehran has repeatedly threatened to close the vital Strait of Hormuz, through which 20pc of the world's oil flows.
Relations between the US and Iran have deteriorated in recent months, as the Trump administration restored sanctions and designated the Revolutionary Guard as a foreign terrorist organisation.
That increased pressure preceded a string of attacks the US has blamed on Iran.
Last week, attacks were launched against the Courageous and the Norwegian-owned MT Front Altair in the Gulf of Oman.