Iran denies involvement in attack on Israeli-managed tanker off Oman

Published August 1, 2021
Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh speaks during a press conference. — AFP/File
Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh speaks during a press conference. — AFP/File

Iran said on Sunday it was not involved in an attack on an Israeli-managed petroleum product tanker off the coast of Oman, referring to an incident last week that killed two and which Israel blamed on the Islamic Republic.

“The Zionist regime (Israel) has created insecurity, terror and violence ... These accusations about Iran's involvement are condemned by Tehran,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told a weekly news conference streamed online.

“Such accusations are meant by Israel to divert attention from facts and are baseless,” he said.

A Briton and a Romanian were killed on Thursday when the Mercer Street, a Liberian-flagged, Japanese-owned ship managed by Israeli-owned Zodiac Maritime was attacked. Israel's foreign minister said the incident deserved a harsh response.

There were varying explanations for what happened to the tanker. Zodiac Maritime described the incident as “suspected piracy” and a source at the Oman Maritime Security Centre as an accident that occurred outside Omani territorial waters.

United States and European sources familiar with intelligence reporting said Iran was their leading suspect for the incident, which a US defence official said appeared to have been carried out by a drone, but stressed their governments were seeking conclusive evidence.

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