(Jerusalem) Israel, the United States and Britain on Sunday accused Iran of being behind a recent fatal attack on an oil tanker in the Arabian Sea, with Washington threatening an “appropriate response” while Tehran has denied any connection to the matter.
Posted on Aug 1, 2021 at 12:47 pm Updated at 3:23 pm
On Thursday, the Mercer Street oil tanker, operated by the company of an Israeli billionaire, was the target of a drone attack, according to the US military, which has ships in the area.
Two people died in the attack, which was not alleged: a British man who works for the security company Ambrey and a Romanian crew member, according to the shipowner Zodiac Maritime, which belongs to the Israeli Eyal Ofer.
Israel immediately pointed a finger at Iran; its foreign minister, Yair Lapid, accused the Islamic Republic on Friday of “being an exporter of terrorism, destruction and instability that harms everyone”.
The Israeli diplomat called on the UN to take action against Iran.
Tehran denies any involvement: “The Zionist regime [Israël] must stop [lancer] such unfounded allegations, ”said his diplomacy spokesman Saïd Khatibzadeh on Sunday.
Iran will not hesitate for a moment to defend its interests and national security.
Saïd Khatibzadeh, diplomatic spokesman for Iran
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett denied these statements: “I can say with absolute certainty that Iran carried out this attack on the ship. […] There is evidence of this. ”
“We expect the international community to make it clear to the Iranian regime that it has made a serious mistake. Anyway, we know our own way to send a message to Iran, ”he warned.
London and Washington also blame Tehran for this.
Britain assumes that this “deliberate” action “was carried out by Iran,” said British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab, calling on the country to “immediately stop its actions that endanger peace and security – regionally and internationally”.
The Israeli army said its chief of staff had spoken to his British counterpart about “recent events in the region and the common challenges facing their countries”.
And the United States “is certain that Iran carried out the attack” […] which follows a series of attacks and aggressive behavior, “said Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday.
[Washington] consults governments in the region and beyond for an appropriate and immediate response.
Antony Blinken, United States Secretary of State
Later in the day, the Israeli foreign minister said in a statement that his country “will continue to discuss and work with its allies around the world to determine the necessary steps in the face of Iranian terrorism”.
Israel may try to increase global pressure on Iran, but it also retains the option of “acting outside the diplomatic field,” retired Israeli general Yossi Kuperwasser told Israeli military radio.
Regarding the attack on the tanker last Thursday, the company Dryad Global, which specializes in maritime security, referred to new “reprisals in the shadow war” between Iran and Israel.
The ship on Mercer Street was sailing unloaded from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, to Fujairah, United Arab Emirates, when it was attacked, according to Zodiac Maritime.
For years, Israel and Iran have collided directly or indirectly in Lebanon, Syria and the Palestinian Gaza Strip. But in recent months this rivalry has expanded with the emergence of a mysterious series of acts of sabotage and attack on the sea.
On March 10, a cargo ship belonging to the Iranian state shipping company IRISL, Iran Shahr-e-Kord, was hit in the hull by an explosive device in the Mediterranean. “Everything indicates that the occupation regime in Jerusalem [Israël] is behind this operation ”, was the verdict of Tehran.
In April, Iran announced that an Iranian “merchant ship”, the Saviz, had been damaged by an explosion in the Red Sea. The New York Times then reported that the Saviz was the target of an Israeli “retaliatory attack” following “Iranian attacks on Israeli ships.”
According to analysts, this showdown at sea is part of the tensions over the Iranian nuclear issue, with Tehran trying to increase pressure to secure a new, favorable deal while the Hebrew state tries to prevent it.
The Iranian authorities have also repeatedly accused Israel of sabotaging some of its uranium enrichment facilities and even murdering scientists linked to the development of this program.