Trump: Iran a 'nation of terror,' was behind tanker attacks

WASHINGTON (AP) — Calling Iran "a nation of terror," President Donald Trump on Friday publicly accused the Persian Gulf nation of responsibility for recent attacks on oil tankers near the strategic Strait of Hormuz.

Trump said Iran's culpability was "exposed" by the United States. While calling into Fox News Channel's "Fox & Friends," he said of the Thursday attacks, "Iran did do it."

While Iran has denied being involved in the attacks, U.S. Central Command released footage it said shows Iran's Revolutionary Guard removing an unexploded limpet mine from the Japanese-owned tanker Kokuka Courageous.

RELATED: Attack on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman

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Attack on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman
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Attack on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman
An oil tanker is on fire in the sea of Oman, Thursday, June 13, 2019. Two oil tankers near the strategic Strait of Hormuz were reportedly attacked on Thursday, an assault that left one ablaze and adrift as sailors were evacuated from both vessels and the U.S. Navy rushed to assist amid heightened tensions between Washington and Tehran. (AP Photo/ISNA)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 13: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks from the State Department briefing room on June 13, 2019 in Washington, DC. Pompeo said, "It is the assessment of the U.S. government that Iran is responsible for today's attacks in the Gulf of Oman. These attacks are a threat to international peace and security, a blatant assault on the freedom of navigation, and an unacceptable escalation of tension by Iran." (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
An Iranian navy boat tries to stop the fire of an oil tanker after it was attacked in the Gulf of Oman, June 13, 2019. Tasnim News Agency/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
A picture released by U.S. Central Command shows damage from an explosion (L) and a likely limpet mine, on the hull of the civilian vessel M/V Kokuka Courageous in the Gulf of Oman in the Arabian Sea, in waters between Gulf Arab states and Iran, June 13, 2019. Picture taken June 13, 2019. U.S. Navy/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS- THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
This grab taken from a video released by the US Central Command (USCENTCOM) on June 14, 2019, reportedly shows an Iranian navy patrol boat in the Gulf of Oman approaching the Japanese operated methanol tanker Kokuka Courageous and removing an unexploded mine. (Photo by - / US Central Command (CENTCOM) / AFP) (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
An oil tanker is seen after it was attacked in the Gulf of Oman, June 13, 2019. Tasnim News Agency/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
A handout photo made available by the Norwegian shipowner Frontline of the crude oil tanker Front Altair during the firefighting of the fire onboard the ship in the Gulf of Oman, June 13, 2019. Frontline/NTB Scanpix/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NORWAY OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN NORWAY
Undated handout archive photo by the Norwegian shipowner Frontline of the crude oil tanker Front Altair, released June 13, 2019. Two oil tankers were hit in suspected attacks in the Gulf of Oman, shipping firms and industry sources said on Thursday, sending oil prices as much as 4% higher a month after four other tankers were damaged by limpet mines in the region. NTB Scanpix/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NORWAY OUT.
Undated handout archive photo by the Norwegian shipowner Frontline of the crude oil tanker Front Altair, released June 13, 2019. Two oil tankers were hit in suspected attacks in the Gulf of Oman, shipping firms and industry sources said on Thursday, sending oil prices as much as 4% higher a month after four other tankers were damaged by limpet mines in the region. NTB Scanpix/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NORWAY OUT.
Yutaka Katada, president of shipping company Kokuka Sangyo Ltd. points to a picture of their tanker Kokuka Courageous, one of two that were hit in suspected attacks in the Gulf of Oman, during a news conference in Tokyo, Japan June 14, 2019, in this photo taken by Kyodo. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. JAPAN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN JAPAN.
In this photo released by state-run IRIB News Agency, an oil tanker is on fire in the sea of Oman, Thursday, June 13, 2019. Two oil tankers near the strategic Strait of Hormuz have been reportedly attacked. The alleged assault on Thursday left one ablaze and adrift as sailors were evacuated from both vessels. The U.S. Navy rushed to assist amid heightened tensions between Washington and Tehran. (IRIB News Agency via AP)
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivers remarks to the media at the State Department in Washington, DC on June 13, 2019. - US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Iran of being behind attacks on two tanks in the Gulf of Oman Thursday, and said it was taking the case to the UN Security Council."It is the assessment of the United States that the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attacks," Pompeo told reporters. (Photo by Eric BARADAT / AFP) (Photo credit should read ERIC BARADAT/AFP/Getty Images)
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Trump did not offer any potential U.S. response to the attack, saying the U.S. has been "very tough on sanctions." He added: "They've been told in very strong terms we want to get them back to the table."

The tanker attacks coincided with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to Iran. Abe, a Trump ally, had taken a similar message encouraging a return to negotiations on his visit to Tehran.

U.S. officials said on Thursday that the Trump administration was considering a return to providing naval escorts to vessels transiting through the maritime choke point. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, a prominent ally of the Republican president, called on the U.S. to begin the escorts immediately in an interview with "Fox & Friends" earlier on Friday.

Trump warned Iran not to close off the Strait of Hormuz, saying if it is closed it won't be closed for long.

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