Senator James Lankford says Iran is a “precarious” situation. It was his response after two oil tankers were attacked Thursday while traveling through the Strait of Hormuz.
“It is a precarious situation when you’re dealing with Iran because it’s just unpredictable. Iran knows it can’t match our military so they do things asymmetric,” said the Senator in an interview with OK Energy Today. He referred to Iran’s cyber attacks, terrorism, funding of Hezbollah in Lebanon and the war in Syria and attempting to destabilize Iraq.
But does it also mean the U.S. might be a step closer to taking military action against Iran?
“I don’t think it puts us any closer today but we’ll have to see who carried out the attacks on those tankers,” said the Senator who sits on the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee. His membership will give him details of military intelligence that is not available to most members of congress and certainly the American public.
“They are so unpredictable in what they will do and how they will do it. The right appropriate patience and a clear response is what’s needed from the United States to make sure we act as a deterrent,” said Lankford. “We don’t need an unstable Iran attacking its neighbors or trying to shut down shipments of oil through the Strait of Hormuz.”
Brent Crude prices immediately rose 3% after word spread about the attacks. At one point, the benchmark commodity rose as much as 4% before trading at $62.23 a barrel.
Tankers the Front Altair and the Kokuka Courageous have sustained significant fire damage and their crews were evacuated.
The Kokuka Courageous was a chemical tanker that loaded in Saudi Arabia and was on its way to Singapore. Twenty-one crew members were rescued from the ship. A company spokesman said the ship was not in danger of sinking and the cargo was intact.
The MT Front Altair is only a 3-year old ship and was on its way to Japan with a load of the petrochemical product naphtha. It had loaded in the United Arab Emirates. Twenty-three crew members were evacuated from the ship and loaded onto a lifeboat sent by a nearby vessel.
The Iranian foreign minister has described the reported attack on oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz as suspicious, since it occurred during a meeting between Japan’s prime minister and Iran’s supreme leader.
Mohammad Javad Zarif made the comment in a tweet on Thursday: “Suspicious doesn’t begin to describe what likely transpired this morning.”
Click below to hear Sen. Lankford’s comments in an interview with Jerry Bohnen.