WASHINGTON - Pentagon officials say new video captured by US Navy surveillance proves Iran is behind the explosions that rocked two oil tankers in the Middle East Thursday.
The footage, officials say, shows Iran's Revolutionary Guard pulling alongside a targeted ship to remove evidence after the attack – an unexploded limpet mine attached to the ship's hull by a magnet.
This June 13, 2019, image released by the U.S. military's Central Command, shows damage and a suspected mine attached to the Kokuka Courageous in the Gulf of Oman near the coast of Iran.
The attacks are similar to those the US says Iran carried out in May against four commercial ships in the region.
This time, Japanese and Norwegian-owned oil tankers were the targets. One ship burned for hours and is now at risk of sinking. The USS Bainbridge rushed in to help rescue crew, and now another destroyer, the USS Mason, is en route to provide backup.
BELOW: US CENTCOM Video Shows Unexploded Limpet Mine Removed from M/T Kokuka Courageous in the Gulf of Oman by Suspected Iranian Attackers
Iran denies responsibility calling it an "unfounded claim" in America's "Iranophobic campaign."
However, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the intelligence is clear. He accuses Iran of lashing out because it wants the Trump administration's crippling economic sanctions lifted.
Pompeo says that's no excuse.
"No economic sanctions entitle the Islamic Republic to attack innocent civilians, disrupt global oil markets and engage in nuclear blackmail," he told reporters Thursday.
In addition to the explosions, Iran is just weeks away from resuming enriching uranium closer to weapons-grade levels if European leaders don't offer new terms to the deal.
"There are elements within the Iranian regime that do not want the US and Iran to ever come to a bargaining table," Col. Stephen Ganyard, USMC (Ret.) and former State Department official, says.
The Islamic Republic says it's already quadrupled its production of low-enriched uranium, but US sanctions have cut off Iran's ability to trade its excess uranium and heavy water abroad.
That's putting a desperate Tehran on course to violate its terms of the nuclear deal.