Iran strongly rejected an accusation by U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton Wednesday that it was behind May 12 attacks on four ships off the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Bolton, long a hawk on Iran, said during a visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) yesterday that the sabotage came from naval mines placed "almost certainly by Iran." He declined to offer any evidence to support his comments.
"Making such laughable claims... is not strange" coming from the U.S., foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said in a statement on its official website. "Mr. Bolton and other warmongers and chaos seekers should know that the strategic patience, high vigilance and complete defensive readiness of the Islamic Republic of Iran... will prevent the fulfillment of their evil desires for chaos in the region," Mousavi added.
Bolton's visit to the UAE comes amid heightened tensions across the Persian Gulf. The accusation comes as a U.S. military buildup in the Gulf grows and on the eve of emergency Arab and Gulf summits called by Iran's regional rival Saudi Arabia to discuss the standoff. It also comes two days after President Donald Trump struck a dovish tone during a visit to Japan saying that Washington was not seeking "regime change" in Iran and was open to talks.
In recent weeks, tensions between Washington and Tehran soared over America deploying an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Persian Gulf due to a still-unexplained threat it perceives from Tehran. The U.S. also plans to send 900 additional troops to the 600 already in the Mideast and extend their stay. The crisis takes root in President Donald Trump's withdrawal last year from the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers that capped Iran's uranium enrichment activities in return for lifting sanctions. Subsequently, Washington reimposed sanctions on Iran, sending its economy into free fall.