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Merkel says US allegations against Iran in tanker attacks serious

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday said she takes US allegations that Iran is responsble for attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman seriously but urged a peaceful solution to the crisis.

Berlin/Moscow, 18 June 2019 (dpa/MIA) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday said she takes US allegations that Iran is responsble for attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman seriously but urged a peaceful solution to the crisis.

“We take these claims of course very seriously and there is also a high degree of evidence,” she said at a press conference in Berlin with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Still, she said negotiations were important and said a recent visit to Iran by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas was the right step.

The US announced this week that it would send about 1,000 additional troops to the Middle East, in response to attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. The US has accused Iran of committing the attacks, but Iran denies any involvement.

The United States is on a “deliberate course for provoking war” with Iran, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday in reaction to the US announcing it would send more troops to the Middle East.

Speaking to reporters in Moscow, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that “for a long time we have seen unending attempts by the US to strengthen political, psychological, economic and military pressure on Iran.”

“This type of action, I believe, is rather provocative. It cannot be assessed as anything other than a deliberate course for provoking war,” Ryabkov said in comments carried by state news agency TASS.

Russia, a close ally of Iran, fights in conjunction with Iranian forces in war-torn Syria.

“We will not wage war with any nation,” Iranian President Hassan Rowhani said on Tuesday at the inauguration of a new airport in southern Tehran, state media reported.

He accused the US of violating international law and that Iran will ultimately prevail in the standoff with Washington.

Iran’s Press TV reported that in his speech Rowhani said the government is “loyal to international agreements.”

However, on Monday Iran’s nuclear energy agency said it is preparing to enrich uranium to higher grades than allowed by its 2015 nuclear pact with global powers, provoking condemnation from the US.

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