Iran slams Israel's accusations over ship attack, calls them 'baseless'

WION Web Team
Tehran, IranEdited By: Moohita Kaur GargUpdated: Aug 01, 2021, 04:22 PM IST


Story highlights

The tanker operated by Israeli forces came under fire off the coast of Oman on Thursday, killing one Briton and a Romanian foreign national

The Iranian Foreign Ministry rejects what it called "baseless accusations" after Israel blamed Iran for a deadly incident off the coast of Oman.

In an incident that Israel's foreign minister claims was the result of an attack launched by Iran, one Briton and a Romanian died when an Israeli-managed oil tanker came under fire off the coast of Oman on Thursday.

However, in a televised press conference, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said that "The Zionist regime ... must stop such baseless accusations — and it is not their first time to direct such accusations at Iran,".

Khatibzadeh said Israel's remarks were "condemned" and the Iranian people will not hesitate for a second to defend their national interests and security. 

Eyal Ofer, an Israeli billionaire, managed the MT Mercer Street, which was struck off the Oman coast Thursday.

In a statement issued Friday, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said he had directed diplomats to pressure the UN to take action against what he calls "Iranian terrorism".

US military and vessel operators both said the attack that killed two crew members, was likely a drone strike. 

An Iranian Arabic-language television cited unnamed sources as saying that the attack on MT Mercer Street was in retaliation to an Israeli attack on Dabaa airport in Syria. This is yet to be confirmed.

At the time of the incident, the vessel was travelling from Tanzania to the United Arab Emirates, with no cargo aboard, according to Zodiac Maritime.

There has been a rise in tensions in the Gulf region since the United States reimposed sanctions on Iran in 2018 following former president Donald Trump's withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear agreement, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

In recent months Iran and Israel have traded accusations of attacking each other's vessels.