Tehran denies being behind a drone attack on an oil tanker linked to Israel, but the G7 says “all available evidence clearly points to Iran.”
G7 foreign ministers said that “all available evidence clearly indicates that Iran” was behind a July 29 drone attack on an Israel-linked tanker that killed a former British soldier and a Romanian national.
“It was a deliberate and targeted attack, and a flagrant violation of international law … There is no justification for this attack,” ministers from the world’s seven most developed countries said in a statement on Friday.
The vessel was a Japanese oil tanker, flying the Liberian flag, operated by the Israeli company Zodiac Maritime.
Iran has firmly denied having any connection to the MV Mercer street attack, which came as tensions rise in the region and talks to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear program deal stalled .
But European countries and the United States renewed their accusations at a closed-door Security Council meeting at UN headquarters in New York on Friday.
“The UK knows Iran is responsible for this attack. We know it was deliberate and targeted, ”said British Ambassador to the UN Barbara Woodward, who added that the evidence was“ clear ”.
“The door to diplomacy and dialogue remains open. But if Iran chooses not to take this path, then we will seek to hold Iran to account and apply a cost to it, ”she told reporters.
The Security Council is due to discuss the incident further at a public meeting on maritime security on Monday.
G7 ministers declared that “ships must be allowed to navigate freely in accordance with international law” and pledged to “do everything possible to protect all navigation, on which the world economy depends”.
“Iran’s behavior, as well as its support for proxy forces and armed non-state actors, threatens international peace and security,” they said, calling on Tehran to end all activities inconsistent with Iranian resolutions. Security Council.
“Iran will not hesitate to defend itself”
The United States and Israel have singled out Iran for being behind the attack on the tanker, which is led by a prominent Israeli businessman in London.
Iran’s deputy ambassador to the UN, Zahra Ershadi, rejected accusations that Tehran was behind the attack and warned against retaliation: “Iran will not hesitate to stand by. defend and protect its national interests “.
In a separate statement, the US military said explosives experts from the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan – which deployed to aid Mercer Street – concluded the drone was produced in Iran.
He said explosives experts were able to recover several pieces of a drone, including part of the wing and internal components that he said were almost identical to previously collected samples from Iranian attack drones.
The US military also suggested the attack may have been launched from the Iranian coast, saying the distance to the scene of the attacks “was within range of documented one-way Iranian drones.”
“Some of the material was transferred to the headquarters of the US Fifth Fleet in Manama, Bahrain, and then to a US national laboratory for further testing and verification,” said Central Command, which oversees US forces in the area. region, in the press release.
Security analysts said the fatal attack raised the stakes in the “shadow war” against ships linked to Iran and Israel.
Iran was blamed again on Tuesday for the alleged hijacking of an asphalt and bitumen tanker in the Gulf of Oman, which prompted further denials from the Islamic Republic.
The tensions came as former head of the hard-line judiciary Ebrahim Raisi took over as Iranian presidency this week following his victory in the June election, replacing Hassan Rouhani who was seen as a more moderate figure.