Iran rejects Israel’s ‘baseless accusations’ over ship attack

Publish: 5:56 PM, August 1, 2021 | Update: 5:56:PM, August 1, 2021

TEHRAN,  – Iran’s foreign ministry on Sunday rejected “baseless accusations” after Israel blamed its arch-foe for a deadly attack on an oil tanker off the coast of Oman.

“The Zionist regime … must stop such baseless accusations — and it is not their first time to direct such accusations at Iran,” ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told reporters in a televised press conference.

Khatibzadeh said the remarks were “condemned,” adding that “Iran will not hesitate for a moment to defend its… interests and national security.”

The MT Mercer Street, managed by prominent Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer, was struck Thursday off the coast of Oman, in an incident Israel has blamed on Iran.

On Friday, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said he had ordered the nation’s diplomats to push for UN action against “Iranian terrorism”.

Two crew members were killed, in what the US military and the vessel’s operator said appeared to be a drone strike.

Vessel operator Zodiac Maritime said a British security guard and a Romanian crew member were killed in the attack.

The oil products tanker was travelling from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania to Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates with no cargo aboard when it was struck, Zodiac Maritime said.