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G7 countries blame Iran for oil tanker attack

August 6, 2021

The attack on the Mercer Street vessel last week left two people dead. The ship is tied to a prominent Israeli billionaire, with Tel Aviv vowing retaliation.

Mercer Street
The Liberian-flagged tanker was hit on July 29 while en route from Tanzania to UAEImage: Johan Victor/AP/picture alliance

G7 members on Friday blamed Iran for an attack on the Mercer Street oil tanker off the coast of Oman last week. The incident left two people dead, a British and a Romanian national.

What did the G7 ministers say?

"This was a deliberate and targeted attack and a clear violation of international law. All available evidence clearly points to Iran. There is no justification for this attack," the foreign ministers of the US, UK, France, Germany, Canada, Italy and Japan, along with the EU, said in a joint statement. 

The statement was issued by the UK, which is the current G7 chair. 

"Vessels must be allowed to navigate freely in accordance with international law," the statement continued.

"Iran's behavior, alongside its support to proxy forces and non-state armed actors, threatens international peace and security," the ministers added. 

In a separate statement on Friday, US Central Command said the unmanned aerial vehicle that targeted the Mercer Street had been produced in Iran. 

Israel, Iran spar over attack

The Mercer Street vessel is tied to prominent Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer. Tel Aviv vowed  a tough response to the attack. Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid called the G7 statement "important" and added that "it's time for the world to hold the Iranian regime to account."

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz has threatened military action towards Iran over the strike.

Iran has denied it was behind the hit and said it was prepared to defend itself if attacked.

"Iran will not hesitate to defend itself and secure its national interests," Iran deputy UN ambassador Zahra Ershadi said. Iran has previously accused Israel of making "empty accusations" regarding the attack. 

The escalation in tensions comes after Iran inaugurated conservative hardliner Ebrahim Raisi as its new president. In his inaugural address, Raisi struck a defiant tone towards Tehran's adversaries both in the Middle East and in the West. 

wd/sms (AFP, AP, Reuters)