U.S. national security adviser John Bolton blamed Iran on Wednesday for the attack on four oil tankers at a port in United Arab Emirates this month, without offering evidence that Tehran was responsible.
President Donald Trump ordered the deployment of about 1,500 additional USA troops to the Middle East after the United Arab Emirates said several ships were sabotaged this month and Saudi Arabia accused Iran of ordering an attack on oil facilities in the kingdom.
Earlier in the day, Bolton said the attacks on the tankers came from "naval mines nearly certainly from Iran, " his less than convincing argument being "Who else would you think would be doing it?"
"There is no doubt in anybody's minds in Washington, we know who did this and it's important Iran knows we know". "It is easy to throw accusations but it is a hard situation, there are serious issues and among them is Iranian behaviour", said Anwar Gargash, the UAE's minister of state for foreign affairs, on 15 May.
Iran immediately rejected Bolton's "absurd claim", Iranian media report.
"Making such laughable claims.is not strange" coming from the USA, foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said.
Bolton spoke before talks with Abu Dhabi's powerful crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
"T$3 he strategic patience, high vigilance and full defensive readiness of the Islamic Republic of Iran" will prevent "Bolton and other warmongers and crisis-seekers" "from hatching their sinister plots to cause chaos in the region", Iran says.
Trump said on Monday he was hopeful Iran would come to negotiating table. Without giving details or evidence, Shanahan said that while the Iranian posture had changed recently, the threat remained.
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Saudi Arabia said two of its oil tankers were "significantly damaged" and reported an attack on its east-west pipeline by Yemen's Iranian-backed Houthi rebels on the same day.
Bolton declined to say what the US would do in response to that but he criticized Iran's actions.
"The point is to make it clear to Iran and its surrogates that these kinds of actions risk a very strong response from the United States".
It is widely expected, however, for Bolton to discuss Iran, which he accused earlier this month of showing signs of increased aggression against the United States, and plotting to attack American and allied forces in the region. But the US also earlier cut off Iran's ability to sell its uranium to Russian Federation in exchange for unprocessed yellow-cake uranium.
Khamenei was quoted as saying on his website: "We said before that we will not negotiate with America, because negotiation has no benefit and carries harm".
This week, the USA announced plans to deploy 1,500 troops to the Middle East in response to the ongoing tensions.
Bolton said that without more nuclear power plants, it made no sense for Iran to stockpile more low-enriched uranium as it now plans to do.
Bolton expressed worries about perceived threats from the overseas arm of Iran's Revolutionary Guard.
Rouhani's website also quoted him as saying that if the United States chooses "another way and returns to justice and law, the Iranian nation will keep the road open to you".