June 13, 2019 / 12:40 PM / 2 months ago

Russia says don't use tanker attacks to pressure Iran - RIA

FILE PHOTO: Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov speaks during a news briefing on SSC-8/9M729 cruise missile system at Patriot Expocentre near Moscow, Russia January 23, 2019. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia on Thursday warned against rushing to attribute blame for a suspected attack on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, and said the incident should not be used to stoke tensions with Tehran, Russia’s RIA news agency reported.

Two oil tankers were attacked, leaving one ablaze and both adrift, shipping firms said, driving oil prices as much as 4% higher over worries about Middle East supplies. The attacks were the second in a month near the Strait of Hormuz, a major strategic waterway for world oil supplies.

“I would take the opportunity to warn against hasty conclusions, against attempts to lay the blame at the door of those we don’t like,” the agency quoted Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying.

“Lately we have been seeing a strengthening campaign of political, psychological and military pressure on Iran. We wouldn’t want the events that have just happened, which are tragic and shook the world oil market, to be used speculatively to further aggravate the situation in an anti-Iranian sense,” Ryabkov was quoted as saying.

Russia and Iran share common interests in the Middle East. Moscow has spoken out against Washington’s decision to unilaterally withdraw from a deal with Tehran on its nuclear programme and impose sanctions.

Reporting by Polina Ivanova, writing by Maria Tsvetkova and Christian Lowe; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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