Iran warns of any action after attack on Israeli-controlled tanker

Iran vowed to respond to any “adventure” on Monday, the State Department said after the US and Britain joined Israel by blaming Tehran for a deadly tanker attack, it claims it denies.

The MT Mercer Street, operated by prominent Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer, was attacked off the coast of Oman on Thursday.

A British security guard and a Romanian crew member were killed in what the United States, Britain and ship operator Zodiac Maritime said appeared to be a drone strike.

Israel blamed Iran for the attack, accusations rejected by Tehran.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Sunday that Israel must “stop making such baseless accusations”.

The US and Britain then also blamed Iran for the attack on Sunday, with Washington promising an “appropriate response”.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab described the attack as “deliberate, targeted and illegal”.

Iran “will not hesitate to protect its security and national interests, and will respond immediately and resolutely to any adventurism,” the ministry’s spokesman, Khatibzadeh, said in a statement.

He dismissed US and UK statements as “contradictory” and said that “if they have any evidence to support their baseless claims, they should provide it”.

Khatibzadeh also accused them of effectively supporting “terrorist attacks on and sabotage of Iranian commercial ships” through their “silence”.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned the Iranian ambassador to London on Monday in response to the attack. “Iranian Ambassador to the UK, Mohsen Baharvand, has been summoned to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office today… in response to the unlawful attack on MV Mercer Street on July 29,” the British government said in a statement.

“Iran must immediately stop actions that endanger international peace and security,” it added, saying that “vessels must be able to navigate freely in accordance with international law”.

Several attacks have recently been reported on Iranian ships that Tehran has linked to Israel.

In March, Iran said it was “considering all options” after an attack on a cargo ship in the Mediterranean, which Israel blamed.

In April, Tehran said its cargo ship Saviz was hit by an “explosion” in the Red Sea after media reports said Israel attacked the ship.

The New York Times reported at the time that it was an Israeli “retaliatory attack” after “Iran’s previous attacks on Israeli ships”.

Iran has also accused Israel of sabotaging its nuclear sites and killing some of its scientists.

( Jowharwith AFP)

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