Iran will not leave the Friday attack on the Sabiti tanker unpunished, President Hassan Rouhani said during his first media conference in more than a year.
Bloomberg reports that the Iranian President also said government officials had seen footage of the attack and it suggested several rockets had been launched at the vessel. Rouhani did not say who Tehran believed the culprit was but did note that it looked like the party behind the attack was a government rather than a terrorist group.
“This wasn’t a terrorist move, nor was it carried out by an individual. It was carried out by a government,” Rouhani told media.
Iranian tanker Sabiti was attacked on Friday, off the Saudi coast near the port of Jeddah. The Saudi coast guard confirmed yesterday that the vessel had sent a distress signal, via email since its geolocation was switched off. The signal said the tanker had suffered damage in the front and that oil was leaking from it.
Initial reports in the Iranian media blamed the attack on Saudi Arabia, but later the National Iranian Tanker Company, which confirmed the attack, said there was no evidence pointing towards any one particular country. The only suggestion a NITC official made was that the missiles that are believed to have been used to strike the tanker may have “possibly” been fired from Saudi soil. Related: Buffett’s Big Bet On Energy
Rouhani first warned there will be a response to the tanker attack on Sunday. That was the first time he referred to the culprit as a country: “If a country thinks that it can create instability in the region without getting a response, that would be a sheer mistake.”
Saudi Arabia was quick to deny any blame.
“We did not engage in such behaviour at all. This is not how we operate and that’s not how we did (it) in the past,” Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir, told media.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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