For the first time, Pentagon officials on Friday publicly blamed Iran and its proxies for recent tanker bombings near United Arab Emirates and a rocket attack in Iraq.
Vice Admiral Michael Gilday told Pentagon reporters that the US has “very high confidence” that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard was responsible for the explosions on four tankers, and that Iranian proxies in Iraq fired rockets into Baghdad. He said Iran also tried to deploy modified small boats that were capable of launching cruise missiles.
Briefing reporters at the Pentagon, Gilday, the Joint Staff director, said the conclusions were based on intelligence and evidence gathered in the region, and officials said they are trying to declassify some of the information so that it could be made public.
“This is truly operations driven by intelligence," Gilday said, adding that the US continues to see intelligence suggesting that Iran is actively planning attacks against the US and partners in the region by the Revolutionary Guard and Iranian proxies in Yemen and Iraq.
When pressed for proof of Iran’s involvement, he said the mines used in the tanker attacks were attributed directly to the Revolutionary Guard.
“I’m not reverse engineering this,” he said. “The Iranians have said publicly they were going to do things. We learn more through intelligence reporting. They have acted upon those threats and they've actually attacked.”