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'Allegations are one thing' - Winston Peters urges caution over blame for oil tanker attacks

New Zealand is "not going to rush to judgment just yet" over whether Iran is responsible for planting mines on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, says Foreign Minister Winston Peters.

"Allegations are one thing, but evidence is something else," Mr Peters told TVNZ1's Q+A last night.

"This is not the first time under my ministry that I’ve taken the cautionary approach to find out what is the final outcome in terms of all the evidence coming in."

It comes after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attempted to convince wary leaders in Asia and Europe that Iran was behind attacks on shipping in a key Middle East oil route, reported AAP earlier this month. Iran denied being involved in the attacks and accused America of promoting an "Iranophobic" campaign.

On June 20, Iran's state-run IRNA news agency reported the country's Revolutionary Guard had shot down a US drone. The US denied the drone was over Iranian territory. 

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The US president says it’s in retaliation to the shooting down of a US drone. Source: Breakfast

President Trump tweeted on June 22, "On Monday [Iran] shot down an unmanned drone flying in International Waters. We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights when I asked, how many will die. 150 people, sir, was the answer from a General. 10 minutes before the strike I stopped it, not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone. I am in no hurry, our Military is rebuilt, new, and ready to go, by far the best in the world. Sanctions are biting & more added last night. Iran can NEVER have Nuclear Weapons, not against the USA, and not against the WORLD!"

When asked if New Zealand would be prepared to participate in a response if the situation escalated further, Mr Peters said, "we already have". 

"From the word go, we said that there needs to be an easing of the tensions. We need to be awfully cautious what's going on here. The ramifications for a whole lot of countries, including innocent civilians, is seriously important.

"I say it's for Iran to respond as well, not just one side."

In the interview, Mr Peters also spoke about how the US had received New Zealand's Pacific reset, describing it as "seriously well".

"There's been a move to ensure there's a far bigger contribution by the US in the Pacific, and we're speaking directly to the administration now on a range of projects where we want to get them involved.

"Well, they've already stepped up, for example, with Japan and New Zealand and Australia to electrify 70 per cent of the population's services of PNG. That's massive."

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Mr Peters talks Iran, Boris Johnson and ANZ, on June 24. Source: Q+A

Q+A is on TVNZ1 on Mondays at 9.30pm, and the episode is then available on TVNZ OnDemand and as a podcast in all the usual places.

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"Allegations are one thing, but evidence is something else," Mr Peters told TVNZ1's Q+A last night. Source: Q+A