Iran is the main suspect in the drone attack on the Zodiac Maritime-operated product tanker Mercer Street off the coast of Oman in the Arabian Sea, which killed two people.
Iran on Sunday denied it was involved in the attack on the Liberian-flagged, Japanese-owned ship despite being blamed by Israel, the US and the UK.
“Upon review of the available information, we are confident that Iran conducted this attack, which killed two innocent people, using one-way explosive UAVs,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.
The UK Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, also issued a statement: “We believe this attack was deliberate, targeted, and a clear violation of international law by Iran. UK assessments have concluded that it is highly likely that Iran attacked the Mercer Street in international waters off Oman on 29 July using one or more unmanned aerial vehicles.”
The US Navy, which was escorting the tanker after the incident, said on Saturday that early investigations pointed to a drone attack.
In a statement on Friday night, Israel’s Foreign Minister, Yair Lapid, said: “Iran is not just an Israeli problem, but an exporter of terrorism, destruction and instability that affects the whole world. “We can never remain silent in the face of Iranian terrorism, which also harms freedom of navigation.”
“Such accusations are meant by Israel to divert attention from facts and are baseless,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh countered.
Mercer Street was travelling from Dar es Salaam to Fujairah with no cargo on board when it was attacked on July 29. The incident led to the deaths of two crewmembers – a UK national and a Romanian national. It follows the attack on the Zodiac Maritime-linked containership CSAV Tyndall, which was recently sold by the Ofer family.