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Saudi Arabia demands action on energy security as Iran denies gulf ship attacks

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By John Paul Ging
Saudi Arabia demands action on energy security as Iran denies gulf ship attacks

Crew members of the oil tanker Front Altair, one of two vessels attacked in the Gulf of Oman earlier in the week, landed in Dubai on Saturday. 

It comes amid calls from Saudi Arabia to secure Gulf energy supplies given that the tankers are on a vital oil shipping route.

It’s raised fears of broader confrontation in the region.

The incident is the second time in the past few weeks that tankers have apparently been attacked in the region and it comes amid escalating tension between Iran and the United States.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Iran was behind what he described as the latest in a series of "unprovoked attacks".

The UK Foreign Office said it was "almost certain" that a branch of the Iranian military — the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps — was responsible.

But the UK’s Opposition Labour Party Leader, Jeremy Corbyn, said in a tweet that Britain should act to ease tensions in the Gulf and "not fuel a military escalation that began with US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement". He said that "without credible evidence about the tanker attacks, the government's rhetoric will only increase the threat of war."

Jeremy Hunt, the UK Foreign Secretary — and current Conservative Party leadership candidate — expressed his amazement at Corbyn’s remarks:

"You'd think it would be pretty obvious who was responsible for this, when we actually have video evidence that shows what the Iranians have been doing.

"Oh no, for Jeremy Corbyn it's all America's fault. And this is the same man, by the way, who refused to condemn Putin after the Salisbury Novichock attacks."

Iran, however, has denied responsibility and says any evidence that it was involved was planted.

Some experts have claimed the action could be a response to US sanctions, which were intended to stop other nations from purchasing Iranian oil.