The United Arab Emirates appeared to part ways with the Trump administration Wednesday on the question of whether Iran is responsible for the recent attacks on merchant tankers in the Gulf of Oman.
The White House maintains that Iran or Iran-backed forces carried out the attacks, which damaged six vessels in two separate incidents in May and June. U.S. Central Command has released video and imagery showing what appear to be Iranian servicemembers removing a limpet mine from the hull of the tanker Kokuka Courageous after the second attack, and it has allowed media to view and photograph debris collected from the vessel.
However, the UAE said Wednesday that it would like more concrete proof before reaching a definitive conclusion that Iran was behind the attacks. Iran has so far denied involvement, though it claimed responsibility for shooting down an American surveillance drone on June 20.
“Honestly we can’t point the blame [for the tanker attacks] at any country because we don’t have evidence,” said UAE foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, speaking alongside his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, at a joint press conference in Moscow. “If there is a country that has the evidence, then I’m convinced that the international community will listen to it. But we need to make sure the evidence is precise and convincing.”