After an attack on an oil tanker near Oman, the US now wants to coordinate a joint action against Iran. This increases tensions in the region.
The deadly alleged drone attack on an oil tanker off the coast of Oman continues to create significant international tensions. The United States announced on Monday a joint action with Great Britain, Israel, Romania and other states against Iran, which they hold responsible for the attack on the tanker operated by the company of an Israeli entrepreneur. The government in Tehran rejected the allegations and threatened consequences for its part.
The oil tanker “MT Mercer Street” was attacked off the coast of Oman on Thursday. A Romanian and a British crew member were killed. Israel, the USA and Great Britain assume a drone attack that Iran is behind.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken repeated this assumption in front of journalists on Monday. His government is “in very close contact” with the countries concerned in order to agree on a “common response”.
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke of an “unacceptable and egregious attack”. “I think Iran has to face the consequences of its actions.” The British government appointed the Iranian ambassador in London. Romania also accused Iran and appointed its ambassador, as the Foreign Ministry announced in Bucharest.
“If you have any evidence to back up your unsubstantiated claims, you should present it,” said Iranian Foreign Office spokesman Said Chatibsade. According to the official news agency Irna, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tehran appointed the chargé d’affaires of the British embassy and the Romanian ambassador because of the statements made by their respective governments.
Chatibsade warned the US and other states against taking action against Iran. Tehran will defend the country’s interests and react immediately and decisively to any adventure policy.
According to observers, there are many indications that the attack on the tanker was the result of a kind of “shadow war” between Israel and Iran. In the past few months there had been multiple reports of attacks on Iranian ships that linked Tehran with Israel. In April, for example, an Iranian ship was damaged by an explosion in the Red Sea. The New York Times reported at the time that the attack was “retaliation for previous Iranian attacks on Israeli ships”.
Tehran also accuses Israel of sabotaging its nuclear facilities and deliberately killing scientists. Foreign Office spokesman Chatibsade accused the USA and Great Britain of supporting sabotage and terrorist attacks on Iranian merchant ships by their “silence”.
The tensions could jeopardize the negotiations in Vienna on a return by Iran and the US to the 2015 nuclear deal. The international agreement aims to prevent Iran from gaining the ability to build an atomic bomb. The United States withdrew from the agreement in 2018 under President Donald Trump. In response, Tehran gradually withdrew from its obligations.
Trump’s successor Joe Biden has basically agreed to new direct negotiations with Iran, but the talks in Vienna had recently stalled.
The Foreign Office in Berlin was “alarmed” by the attack on Thursday. This is an “attack on the safety of the sea routes that we condemn,” said a spokeswoman. It is now important to clarify the background to the incident. Germany also sees itself as a mediator in the nuclear negotiations. So far, the US has not spoken directly to Iran in Vienna.