19:01 GMT24 September 2020
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    Four ships, including two Saudi oil tankers, were targeted off the United Arab Emirates, said the two countries on Sunday and Monday, without further details on the circumstances or suspected perpetrators. The Saudis have denounced an attempt to jeopardise the security of global oil deliveries.

    A spokesperson for the current Chief of Staff of the French Army has said that Paris has not increased surveillance in the Persian Gulf as far as he is aware.    

    The spokesman, Colonel Patrick Steiger, said at a press conference at the Ministry of Defence that no conclusion had been reached about the alleged sabotage operations against Saudi and Emirati ships in the Gulf.    

    According to Steiger, French experts are currently involved in an investigation into the alleged operations.    

    The statement comes as photos of Iranian missiles on small boats in the Persian Gulf emerged stoking concerns that the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps would fire them at US naval ships.    

    Earlier today The New York Times quoted three White House officials as saying the overhead images showing fully assembled missiles had prompted Washington to ramp up its rhetoric against Tehran.   

    The State Department on Wednesday ordered a partial evacuation of the United States Embassy in Baghdad and a consulate in Iraqi Kurdistan amid tensions in the region.

    The move was followed by Germany's decision to halt its participation in the Iraqi military training programme due to heightened tensions in the region.
    Echoing the move, the Netherlands also suspended its mission in Iraq citing the security threat.

    Iran announced the suspension of certain commitments under the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the nuclear deal, earlier this month, stating that the other signatories have a 60-day period to fulfil their obligations amid the US sanctions against the country.

    France has urged Tehran to keep its end of the deal, noting that sanctions could be imposed by European counties if Iran fails to comply with the agreement.    


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