‘Unlawful and callous attack’: US, UK condemn Iran’s attack on Israeli-owned ship

August 2, 2021 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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Israel expressed satisfaction over the strong international condemnation of Iran following its apparent attack on an Israel-owned ship in the Gulf of Oman last week, as world powers guaranteed a powerful response against the Islamic Republic.

An Iranian suicide drone is believed to have hit the oil tanker Mercer Street on Thursday night, a ship operated by Zodiac Maritime, a company owned by Israeli tycoon Eyal Ofer, killing a British and Romanian national.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated Sunday that the US joins its “partners and allies in our strong condemnation of the attack” against the Mercer Street, “a commercial ship that was peacefully transiting through the north Arabian Sea in international waters.”

“Upon review of the available information, we are confident that Iran conducted this attack, using one-way explosive UAVs, a lethal capability it is increasingly employing throughout the region,” he noted.

“There is no justification for this attack, which follows a pattern of attacks and other belligerent behaviour. These actions threaten freedom of navigation through this crucial waterway, international shipping and commerce, and the lives of those on the vessels involved,” he stated.

“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,” he vowed.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab stated that the UK “condemns the unlawful and callous attack” and believes it was “deliberate, targeted, and a clear violation of international law by Iran.”

UK assessments have concluded that it is “highly likely” that Iran attacked the ship in international waters using one or more Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV).

“Iran must end such attacks, and vessels must be allowed to navigate freely in accordance with international law,” he said.

“The UK is working with our international partners on a concerted response to this unacceptable attack,” he stated ominously.

Following these forceful statements, Israeli Foreign Minister Yari Lapid stated that “the murderous regime in Iran and the terrorism it exports are a global threat.”

“I am pleased that both the US and the UK have condemned these terrorist acts. The threat posed by the terrorist regime in Iran will only increase when the ‘Butcher of Tehran’ Raisi becomes president,” he warned.

“Israel will continue to hold conversations with our allies around the world and work together to formulate the necessary steps to combat ongoing Iranian terror,” he added.

Iran has denied its involvement in the attack.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett stated Sunday during the Cabinet meeting that he expects the international community “will make it clear to the Iranian regime that they have made a serious mistake. In any case, we know how to send a message to Iran in our own way.”

Israel may respond militarily with an attack on an Iranian target.

IDF Chief of the General Staff LTG Aviv Kohavi spoke on Sunday with his British counterpart, Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Sir Nick Carter and discussed “recent events in the region and common challenges faced by both countries.”

Amos Yadlin, a former general in the Israeli Air Force (IAF) and former head of the IDF Military Intelligence Directorate explained that Iran “shot itself in the foot” by hitting a civilian ship and killing two European civilians, “demonstrating to the international community that it is a terrorist state that violates shipping freedom and the world economy.”

In recent months, several other Israeli ships have come under apparent Iranian attacks on various maritime routes in the Middle East.

In February, an Israeli-owned ship was hit by an explosion in the sea of Oman. In April, another Israeli ship came under attack off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.

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