News Release

Persian Gulf of Tonkin?

NYT: “One of the tankers that were attacked in the Gulf of Oman was struck by a flying object, the ship’s Japanese operator said on Friday, disputing at least part of the account of United States officials who had blamed Iran for the attack.”

During what the Nikkei Asian Review is reporting was the first visit to Tehran by a Japanese leader since the 1979 revolution, there was an attack on two Japan-bound tankers, near the Straits of Hormfuz Thursday.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted: “Reported attacks on Japan-related tankers occurred while [Prime Minister Abe] @AbeShinzo was meeting with [Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei] @khamenei_ir for extensive and friendly talks. Suspicious doesn’t begin to describe what likely transpired this morning. Iran’s proposed Regional Dialogue Forum is imperative.”

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — who made a statement at the State Department and refused to take questions — tweeted: “It is the assessment of the U.S. government that Iran is responsible for today’s attacks in the Gulf of Oman.”Journalist Rania Khalek, warned that national security adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “are trying to create a Gulf of Tonkin incident with Iran,” referring to a falsified incident that the Johnson administration used in 1964 to dramatically escalate the Vietnam War.

TRITA PARSI, tparsi at gmail.com, @tparsi
Parsi founded the National Iranian American Council. He tweeted: “So literally while Japan’s Abe is meeting with Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei, a Japanese oil tanker is attacked in the Gulf of Oman. Sounds like some are afraid Japan may succeed in starting diplomacy. The message appears to be: Don’t you dare stand in the way of my war plans.”

FRANCIS BOYLE, fboyle at illinois.edu
Professor of international law at the University of Illinois, Boyle’s books include Destroying World Order. He said today: “Some are claiming that the 2001 Authorization for Military Force would authorize attacking Iran. This is totally false. The AUMF is currently being stretched in a highly dubious manner and should be rescinded. To apply it to Iran would be totally absurd.

“Given the manner Bolton is pressing for war, a member of the House should put in a Bill of Impeachment against him immediately.

“It’s certainly possible that some Iranian faction, like the Revolutionary Guard, which the U.S. government designated as terrorists earlier this year (see accuracy.org news release), could have done this, but Pompeo provided no serious evidence. His basic reasoning, that Iran is likely guilty largely because it had the capacity to conduct such attacks, could just as easily be applied to the U.S., Saudi or Israeli governments or possibly groups they support.

“And it’s the U.S. government that has the most dramatic history of violence in this respect. The civilian Iran Air Flight 655 was downed by the USS Vincennes over the Persian Gulf in 1988. And Iran brought a suit against the U.S. at the International Court of Justice in the Oil Platforms case. The court eventually ruled that ‘the actions of the U.S. against Iranian oil platforms … cannot be justified as measures necessary to protect the essential security interests’ of the U.S., though the court rejected the call for reparations by Iran.”

Sam Husseini, senior analyst at accuracy.org noted that a Japanese ship being attacked while Japan was apparently attempting to decrease tensions was reminiscent of the bombing of the Chinese embassy in Yugoslavia by the U.S. after China had objected to the U.S. bombing there. The U.S. government claimed the bombing was accidental, but the British Observer would conclude “NATO bombed Chinese deliberately.” See Twitter thread.

Last month, the Guardian claimed regarding a previous attack in the region: “Evidence that Iran has been behind recent attacks on oil tankers and pipelines in the Gulf is likely to be presented to the UN Security Council as early as next week, John Bolton, the U.S. national security adviser, has revealed.” Early this month, Salon published investigative reporter Gareth Porter’s piece “Pentagon’s phony Iran ‘evidence’: New rationale for U.S. intervention?

Meanwhile, Twitter Thursday targeted Iranian accounts, Reuters reported: “Twitter deletes thousands of accounts tied to Iran.” See accuracy.org news release from last year: “Following Assassination Attempt, Facebook Pulled Venezuela Content.”