In a statement Friday, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, one of the top contenders for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, insisted that because Congress hasn’t authorized a war with Iran, a “unilateral U.S. attack on Iran would be illegal and unconstitutional.”
“Attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman are unacceptable and must be fully investigated,” said Sanders, who has long opposed overseas conflicts, including the Iraq War. “But this incident must not be used as a pretext for a war with Iran, a war which would be an unmitigated disaster for the United States, Iran, the region and the world.”
Sanders’s comments came hours after Trump said in an interview with Fox News that “Iran did do it, and you know they did it,” vowing to ensure the key shipping lane of the Strait of Hormuz won’t be closed.
The US military had published a blurry video clip on Friday with Pentagon officials claiming that it proves that commandos of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) had planted explosives on one of the ships.
One of the two tankers hit by explosions on Thursday, the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous, was being towed into a port in the United Arab Emirates for further inspection into how the attack was carried out and with what kind of weapon.
The other tanker, the Norwegian-owned Front Altair, remained adrift, on fire and abandoned by its crew after Iranian patrol boats chased off civilian tugs that had come to tow it to port.
Iran however has accused the United States and its allies, including Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, of seizing on the attacks to “sabotage diplomacy” as it waged economic warfare on the country.