The UAE, along with Saudi Arabia and Norway, presented on Thursday the initial findings of the investigation during a briefing to United Nations Security Council, which will also receive the final results of the probe to consider a possible response.
In a document on their briefing to the Security Council members, the three countries did not mention Iran, which has been falsely accused by the United States of being ‘directly responsible’ for the May 12 attacks that came at a time of rising tensions between Tehran and Washington.
Iran has rejected the “ridiculous” claims by US National Security Adviser John Bolton blaming Tehran for the attacks, calling for close investigation of the matter.
The countries’ joint investigation said the attacks required expert navigation of fast boats and trained divers who likely placed limpet mines with a high degree of precision on the vessels – two Saudi-flagged, a Norwegian-flagged and an Emirati-flagged – under the waterline to incapacitate but not sink them.
They said they believed it was the work of several teams of operatives, which coordinated the timed detonation of all four explosive charges within less than an hour.
“While investigations are still ongoing, these facts are strong indications that the four attacks were part of a sophisticated and coordinated operation carried out by an actor with significant operational capacity, most likely a state actor,” they said.
Meanwhile, Russian Deputy Ambassador Vladimir Safronkov told reporters that no evidence was presented in the briefing linking Iran to the attacks. “We shouldn’t jump to conclusions. This investigation will be continued,” he said.
The tanker attacks occurred off the UAE emirate of Fujairah, which lies just outside the Strait of Hormuz, a vital global oil and gas shipping route.