For a moment on Thursday, it appeared that the US Navy had produced the ‘smoking gun’ to which Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had alluded during his statement from earlier in the day: CENTCOM footage which the Navy said purported to show Iran’s IRGC ‘caught in the act’ of trying to remove an unexploded mine from the Kokuka Courageous, one of the two tankers damaged in Thursday’s attacks.
CENTCOM said the video it released showed the IRGC removing an unexploded limpet mine from the side of one of the tankers, suggesting Tehran had sought to remove evidence from the scene.
Just in: Pentagon video of what it says is an Iranian boat removing an unexploded mine from one of the attacked oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.
After the video’s release, Iran continued to deny any involvement in the attacks. And perhaps now we know why.
Because in comments that cast the entire narrative promulgated by the US in doubt, Yutaka Katada, the president of Kokuka Sangyo, the owner and operator of the Kokuka Courageous, said Friday that he doesn’t completely believe Washington’s version of events.
Instead, he said he believes the vessel wasn’t damaged by a mine, but by some kind of projectile, like, say, a torpedo. He called reports of a mine attack “false.” One reason is because a mine doesn’t damage a ship above sea level, like what was seen with the Courageous.
“A mine doesn’t damage a ship above sea level,” said Yutaka Katada, president of Kokuka Sangyo, the owner and operator of the vessel. “We aren’t sure exactly what hit, but it was something flying towards the ship,” he said.
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