May 25, 2019
A senior Pentagon officer says the U.S. blames Iran and its proxies for the recent tanker bombings near United Arab Emirates and a rocket attack in Iraq.
Vice Admiral Michael Gilday says the U.S. has a high degree of confidence that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard was responsible for the explosions on four tankers, and that Iranian proxies in Iraq fired rockets into Baghdad’s Green Zone, where the U.S. embassy is located.
The civilian vessels were attacked on May 12, substantially raising tensions in the Persian Gulf. No one took responsibility and both UAE and the U.S. said they were investigating. That attack was followed by multiple drone and missile attacks by Iran’s allies, Yemen’s Houthis on Saudi Arabia.
Gilday, the Joint Staff director, says the latest decision to send 1,500 additional troops to the Middle East will boost surveillance of Iranian forces and their proxies. The additional forces will include more manned and unmanned aircraft, a squadron of fighter jets, a Patriot missile battalion and military engineers.
He did not provide direct evidence to back up claims tying Iran to the attacks. He told reporters the conclusions were based on intelligence and evidence gathered in the region.
In recent days, tensions were contained as both the U.S. and Iran repeatedly said they are not pursuing armed conflict.