Germany’s foreign minister Heiko Maas said that a video released by the US is not enough to prove that Iran was behind attacks of this week on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.
“The video is not enough. We can understand what is being shown, sure, but to make a final assessment, this is not enough for me,” Foreign Minister Maas told reporters in Oslo, according to Reuters.
Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State on Thursday blamed Iran for the attacks on the Norwegian-owned MT Front Altair and the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous, then later US Central Command (CENTCOM) released a video footage to prove it.
In the video released, a small boat is shown coming up to the side of the Japanese-owned tanker. An individual stands up on the bow of the boat and can be seen removing an object from the tanker’s hull. The US claims that the object is likely an unexploded mine.
President of Japanese ship’s operator Yutaka Katada said that sailors on board the kokuka tanker Courageous saw “flying object” just before the attack, suggesting the tanker wasn’t damaged by mines.
“The crew told us something came flying at the ship, and they found a hole,” President Katada of Kokuka Sangyo told a press conference in Tokyo. “Then some crew witnessed the second shot.”
The video was also disputed by Western investigation journalist and defense analyst.
The investigative journalism website Bellingcat wrote that “there’s currently no evidence to verify what was removed from the side of the vessel was a mine, and there’s no evidence at the moment about who placed it there, so claiming it was a mine placed by the Iranians is pure conjecture at this point in time.”
The attacks on Thursday morning sent shock waves through the world which was awaiting the news of a meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei in Tehran.
Nathalie Tocci, a senior adviser to European foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini also rejected the US allegations, saying, “Before we blame someone, we need credible evidence.”
“Iranians are deeply rational actors, she said. And for Iran to have attacked a Japanese ship when the Japanese prime minister was in Tehran “is not an especially rational thing to do.”