UAE says four vessels targets of 'sabotage' in waters near Fujairah port

President Donald Trump

Saudi Arabia said on Monday that two Saudi oil tankers were attacked off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, condemning it as an attempt to undermine the security of crude supplies amid heightened U.S. One of the two Saudi tankers was on its way to the port of Ras Tanura to load oil for shipment to the US, according to SPA.

President Donald Trump did not dismiss the potential for a war between the United States and Iran Monday amid soaring tensions escalated by reports of recent, unclaimed attacks against commercial tankers near the world's busiest oil chokepoint.

- In June 2008, the then Revolutionary Guards commander-in-chief, Mohammad Ali Jafari, said Iran would impose controls on shipping in the Strait if it was attacked.

The Trump administration has sought to use sanctions to bring Iran's oil exports to zero, eliciting Iranian threats to close the Strait of Hormuz.

"The ministry stressed that exposing commercial ships to acts of sabotage and threatening the lives of their crews is a risky development, stressing the need for the global community to assume its responsibilities to prevent any parties trying to undermine the security and safety of maritime traffic", the foreign ministry statement read.

INTERTANKO, an association of independent tanker owners and operators, said in a note that it has seen photos showing that "at least two ships have holes in their sides due to the impact of a weapon".

Secretary-General of the Arab League Ahmed Aboul Gheit said these criminal acts constitute a serious violation of the freedom and safety of trade and maritime transport routes that would raise the level of escalation in the region.

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Saudi Arabia's foreign ministry in a separate statement voiced support for the UAE, the Middle East's trade and business hub.

A spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry also warned about a "conspiracy orchestrated by ill-wishers" and "adventurism by foreigners" meant to undermine regional stability. The Islamic Republic has threatened to block oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz if the USA halts Iranian energy exports and to scale back its obligations under the 2015 nuclear deal. Oil prices rose on world markets on Monday with benchmark Brent North Sea crude up 1.8 per cent at $71.90 a barrel in London.

The Strait of Hormuz also has a unique ability to scare oil traders.

Industry sources told the BBC that the Saudi tankers affected were the Amjad and Al Marzaqah.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE are the largest and third-largest producers, respectively, in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

'Iran or its proxies could respond by targeting commercial vessels, including oil tankers, or USA military vessels in the Red Sea, Bab-el-Mandeb Strait, or the Persian Gulf'.

The White House said that move was aimed at countering "clear indications" of threats from Iran to its forces there.

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