A U.S. assessment determined it is "highly likely" that Iran was behind the attacks on four tankers last weekend, according to three U.S. officials familiar with the findings. The U.S. has evidence, including photos of the damage and forensics, tying Iran or its proxies to the Sunday attacks off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, one of the officials said.
The four ships — two from Saudi Arabia and one each from the UAE and Norway — were struck with what is now believed to be explosive charges, the officials said and NBC News reported.
The incident escalated tensions in the region at a time when the U.S. has ramped up its efforts to choke off Iran's oil exports. And in the days before the tanker attacks, the Trump administration announced that it was sending a carrier strike group and Air Force bombers to the Middle East.
A separate U.S. intelligence assessment on Friday found that the recent movement of more U.S. military assets into the region was having an effect on Iranian posture and behavior, according to the three U.S. officials.