You can read this article in German: LINK
On August 1st, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab accused Iran of being responsible for the alleged drone strike on an oil tanker in the Arabian sea.
This followed accusations by Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennet, which Tehran denied.
The merchant tanker, “Mercer Street,” was hit twice. The first attack didn’t cause any damages but the second strike hit the rooms of the crew.
Two people were killed, one Romanian national and one British national.
“Upon review of the available information, we are confident that Iran conducted this attack, which killed two innocent people, using one-way explosive UAVs, a lethal capability it is increasingly employing throughout the region,” Blinken said.
Raab’s statement said the UK believes the attack was “deliberate, targeted, and a clear violation of international law by Iran.”
“Iran must end such attacks, and vessels must be allowed to navigate freely in accordance with international law,” Raab said.
The ship was owned by a Japanese company but was managed by Israeli-owned Zodiac Maritime. Israeli officials have alleged this was the reason the tanker became a target.
Israel and Iran have accused each other of carrying out attacks at sea over last 18 months. Israel allegedly attacked numerous Iranian vessels, which were transferring oil and allegedly weapons to Syria.
In recent months, Iran has allegedly begun to retaliate by allegedly attacking ships owned by Israeli businessmen.
A spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry denied Iran had any connection to the attack.
“There is no justification for this attack, which follows a pattern of attacks and other belligerent behavior,” Blinken said. “These actions threaten freedom of navigation through this crucial waterway, international shipping and commerce, and the lives of those on the vessels involved.”
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Sunday that he “unequivocally” believes “Iran was the one that attacked the ship,” per Bloomberg.
Israeli and British diplomats told Axios that the next step will be to attempt to convene a meeting of the United Nations Security Council.
“We are working with our partners to consider our next steps and consulting with governments inside the region and beyond on an appropriate response, which will be forthcoming,” Blinken said.
The alleged attack marked the first major confrontation with Iran for Bennett, who took over as premier in June after a coalition deal unseated Israel’s long-serving Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu is suspected of launching a series of attacks targeting Iran, including explosions at the country’s main enrichment site and the killing of a prominent military nuclear scientist.
However, Bennett as well has made hawkish comments in the past about needing to attack “the head of the octopus” in Tehran as opposed to Iran’s regional militias like Hezbollah in Lebanon. The attack on the Mercer Street marks the first during his time as prime minister and analysts suggest he could seek a major attack in retaliation.
“Israel may wish to deliver a resounding blow; that’s the spirit of political sources’ comments in Jerusalem,” wrote Amos Harel, a longtime military analyst for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. “This blow will be aimed at ending things without a tit-for-tat that could escalate. But as usual, events also depend on the other side.”
A recent report by the Iranian al-Alam TV revealed that the attack on Mercer Street was a response by “resistance forces,” a term used to refer to Iran’s allies in the Middle East, to the July 21 Israeli strikes on Syria. Two “resistance fighters” were killed in the strikes.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Iran Denies Responsibility For Recent Tanker Attack Following Accusations By Israeli Prime Minister
- UPDATED: Fatalities Confirmed. Israeli-operated Oil Tanker Targeted In Gulf Of Oman: Conflicting Reports Of Cause