The United Arab Emirates said Sunday that four commercial ships off its eastern coast "were subjected to sabotage operations," hours after Iranian and Lebanese media outlets aired false reports of explosions at a nearby Emirati port. Emirati officials declined to say who might have been responsible, the AP reports. However, the US has warned ships that "Iran or its proxies" could be targeting maritime traffic in the region; America is deploying an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Persian Gulf to counter alleged threats from Tehran. Tensions have risen since President Trump withdrew the US from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, restoring American sanctions that have pushed Iran's economy into crisis. Last week, Iran warned it would begin enriching uranium at higher levels in 60 days if world powers failed to renegotiate the deal.
The UAE statement put the ships near the country's territorial waters in the Gulf of Oman, east of the port of Fujairah. It said that it was investigating the incident "in cooperation with local and international bodies" and that there were "no injuries or fatalities on board the vessels" and "no spillage of harmful chemicals or fuel." Earlier Sunday, Lebanon's pro-Iran satellite channel Al-Mayadeen, quoting "Gulf sources," falsely reported a series of explosions at Fujairah's port. State and semi-official media in Iran picked up the reports, citing Al-Mayadeen, which later published the names of vessels it claimed were involved. The AP found the reports about an explosion to be unsubstantiated.
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