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Two Dead After Oil Tanker Attack; U.S., UK, Blame Iran

The United States and the United Kingdom have blamed Iran for the Mercer Street tanker attack that killed two.

The Mercer Street was attacked with drones on Friday off the Omani coast. The tanker is managed by UK-based Zodiac Maritime, a company owned by Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer.

”We join our 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,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement on Sunday.

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

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

The UK Foreign Office also condemned the attack and blamed Iran for it.

“The UK condemns the unlawful and callous attack committed on a merchant vessel off the coast of Oman, which killed a British and a Romanian National. Our thoughts are with the friends and family of those killed in the incident,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a statement.

“We believe this attack 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 MV MERCER STREET in international waters off Oman on 29 July using one or more Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). Iran must end such attacks, and vessels must be allowed to navigate freely in accordance with international law.”

Raab added that the UK was working with international partners to come up with a concerted response to the attack. Israel also blames Tehran for the attack.

Iran has denied any involvement.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on August 02 2021 said:
    Israel understandably blamed Iran for the attack on the Israeli-owned Mercer Street tanker off the coast of Oman on the 29th of July. Israel should have known that Iran would retaliate against Israeli attacks on Iranian oil tankers bringing Iranian crude supplies to Syria. Israel is reaping what it has been sowing.

    The strange thing, however, is the speed by which both the United States and the United Kingdom rushed to blame Iran for the attack when they never said a word about freedom of navigation and international law when Israeli planes and missiles attacked Iranian oil tankers in many occasions in the Mediterranean.

    And while I understand the United Kingdom's outrage at the attack since one of its citizens was killed, I find the United States' attitude odd. It occupies unlawfully Syrian oil fields in the eastern Deir ez-Zor region and also imposes sanctions on the supply of oil to Syria and when Israel attacks Iranian tankers bringing badly needed oil supplies to Syria, it keeps mum in accordance of its own international law and freedom of navigation.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London

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