Small Wars Journal

Iran Crisis Update

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 12:14am

U.S. Navy Expert: Tanker Attack Mine Resembles Iranian Mines by Jon Gambrell – Associated Press

U.S. NAVY 5TH FLEET BASE NEAR FUJAIRAH, United Arab Emirates — The limpet mines used to attack a Japanese-owned oil tanker near the Strait of Hormuz last week bore “a striking resemblance” to similar mines displayed by Iran, a U.S. Navy explosives expert said Wednesday, stopping short of directly blaming Tehran for the assault.

Iran has denied being involved in the attack last Thursday that hit the Japanese tanker Kokuka Courageous and also the Norwegian-owned Front Altair.

The comments by Cmdr. Sean Kido came as the Navy showed reporters pieces of debris and a magnet they say Iran's Revolutionary Guard left behind when they spirited away an unexploded limpet mine after the June 13 attack in the Gulf of Oman. Iran has also not acknowledged taking the mine.

Kido also stressed that the damage done to the Kokuka Courageous was "not consistent with an external flying object hitting the ship," despite the ship's owner blaming "flying objects" for the damage in the attack…

Read on.

U.S.: Iranian Military Vessels Approached Tankers Before Gulf of Oman Attacks by Michael Lipin – Voice of America

A senior U.S. official has shared new information about suspected Iranian attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week, saying Iranian vessels approached the tankers before the attacks happened. 

Testifying to a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Wednesday, U.S. Special Representative for Iran, Brian Hook, said U.S. intelligence has confirmed that Iranian vessels operating in and around the Strait of Hormuz on June 12 and June 13 approached the Norwegian-owned Front Altair and Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous before each vessel suffered explosions in the Gulf of Oman on June 13 in the early morning local time.

"I can also say that a senior IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) official confirmed that … IRGC personnel had completed two actions," Hook told the Middle East, North Africa and International Terrorism subcommittee in response to a question from Republican Congressman Joe Wilson…

Read on.

Iran Says Revolutionary Guard Shoots Down U.S. Drone by Nasser Karimi and John Gambrell – Associated Press

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard said Thursday it shot down a U.S. drone amid heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington over its collapsing nuclear deal. The U.S. military declined to immediately comment.

The reported shootdown of the RQ-4 Global Hawk comes after the U.S. military previously alleged Iran fired a missile at another drone last week that responded to the attack on two oil tankers near the Gulf of Oman. The U.S. blames Iran for the attack on the ships, which Tehran denies.

The attacks come against the backdrop of heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran following President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers a year ago. The White House separately said it was aware of reports of a missile strike on Saudi Arabia amid a campaign targeting the kingdom by Yemen’s Iranian-allied Houthi rebels…

Read on.