WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump Friday blamed Iran for the attack on two international oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman as he and other administration officials escalated their rhetoric on Tehran.
“Iran did do it,” Trump said during a lengthy phone interview on Fox and Friends. "We don't take it lightly, that I can tell you."
Iran has denied any involvement and has accused the United States of trying to mar a visit to Tehran by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
“Suspicious doesn't begin to describe what likely transpired this morning,” Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif tweeted Thursday.
The attacks spurred fears of rising tensions in the Middle East and led to a spike in oil prices.
Here’s what we know about the attacks and the fallout:
Two tankers reported at dawn Thursday they had been attacked about 25 miles off the southern coast of Iran.
The Front Altair, loaded with the flammable hydrocarbon mixture naphtha from the United Arab Emirates, radioed for help as it caught fire. A short time later, the Kokuka Courageous, loaded with methanol from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, also called for help.
The U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet said it received two distress calls and sent the guided-missile destroyer USS Bainbridge to the scene.
The attack took place as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wrapped up a visit to Tehran aimed at improving relations between Iran and the United States.