Iran calls ship attacks off UAE 'alarming,' urges probe   

Iran calls ship attacks off UAE 'alarming,' urges probe   

TEHRAN-Agence France-Presse  
Iran calls ship attacks off UAE alarming, urges probe

Iran on May 13 called attacks on ships in the Gulf "alarming" after the UAE and Saudi Arabia said several vessels including oil tankers were damaged in acts of sabotage off the Emirati coast.

"The incidents in the Sea of Oman are alarming and regrettable," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said in an English-language statement on the ministry's website, calling for a probe into the attacks and warning of "adventurism" by foreign players to disrupt maritime security.

On May 12, the United Arab Emirates said that four commercial vessels of various nationalities had been targeted by acts of sabotage off the UAE port of Fujairah.

Saudi Arabia early on May 13 said two of its oil tankers were damaged.

Fujairah port is the only terminal in the UAE located on the Arabian Sea coast, bypassing the Strait of Hormuz, a global shipping route through which most Gulf oil exports pass, and which Iran has repeatedly threatened to close in case of a military confrontation with the United States.

The incident comes amid rising tensions between Iran and the United States which has strengthened its military presence in the region, including deploying a number of strategic B-52 bombers in response to alleged threats from Tehran.

It also comes as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo scrapped a stop on May 13 in Moscow to visit Brussels instead for talks with European officials on Iran.

Mousavi "called for clarifications" concerning the "exact dimensions" of May 12’s attacks on ships in the Gulf, the Foreign Ministry's statement said.

He said such incidents would have a "negative impact... on shipping safety and maritime security" in the Gulf.

He also "warned against plots by ill-wishers to disrupt regional security" and "called for the vigilance of regional states in the face of any adventurism by foreign elements," the statement added.