US: Iran attacked tanker off Oman coast

Washington, Aug 1 (EFE).- The US government on Sunday said that it was “confident” that Iran was responsible for the deadly drone attack on an oil tanker last week off the coast of Oman, adding that it would respond appropriately in the very near future.

In a statement, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that, after analyzing the available information about the attack, Washington is “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.”

A UAV is an unmanned aerial vehicle, the military term for a drone.

“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.

“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.”

The attack, carried out by a drone, killed two members of the crew, a Romanian citizen and a Briton, and Israel directly accused Iran of having staged the strike.

When it was attacked on Thursday night, the vessel, which is owned by a Japanese company but managed by Israeli firm Zodiac Maritime, which is owned by Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer, was in the northern Indian Ocean en route to the United Arab Emirates.

The incident raised the alarm among Israeli authorities.

Israel views Tehran as its main enemy in the region and an existential threat. Since the eruption of the armed conflict in Syria, Israel has periodically bombarded the positions of Iranian militia or allies supporting the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

In addition, Israel strongly opposes the 2015 nuclear accord among several world and European powers and Tehran, a pact to which the US is planning to return after former President Donald Trump withdrew from it in 2018.

Meanwhile, the Iranian government is denying the Israeli accusations, which have now been backed by the United Kingdom and the US.

In his weekly press conference, the spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, Said Jatibzade, called Tel Aviv’s accusations “unfounded” and emphasized that “this is not the first time that the regime occupying (Jerusalem) has made such accusations of the Islamic Republic (of Iran).”

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