The oil tanker was hit off Oman in what is thought to have been a drone strike (Picture: Reuters)
Iran has denied attacking an oil tanker off Oman in an incident that killed two people, including one from the UK.
The denial came after Israel had alleged that Tehran carried out the drone assault on Thursday night amid heightened tensions in the region and a war of words between the two nations.
Iran had been silent until foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh branded the allegations ‘baseless’ on Sunday.
The attack on the Mercer Street tanker is thought to be the first fatal incident after years of assaults on commercial shipping in the region, which has been linked to tensions with Iran over its tattered nuclear deal.
The problems have been branded a ‘shadow war’.
While no one has claimed responsibility for the attack, Israeli officials alleged Tehran launched the drone strike.
Iran’s Mr Khatibzadeh said: ‘Such blame games are nothing new. Those who are responsible for this (attack) are the ones who made it possible for the Israeli regime to set its foot in this region.
The Mercer Street is managed by Israeli-owned Zodiac Maritime and was hit by a blast on the bridge (Picture: Reuters)
Iranian drones seen in a large-scale drone combat exercise in January (Picture: Reuters)
‘This is not strange, the well-known anti-Iran lobby in the US uses any opportunity to make… accusations against the Islamic Republic of Iran.’
Iran is set to inaugurate which will see a new president inaugurated on Thursday.
On Saturday, the US navy said its nuclear-powered aircraft carrier the USS Ronald Reagan and the guided missile destroyer USS Mitscher were escorting the Mercer Street back to a safe port.
It added that navy explosive experts believe a drone attacked the vessel.
An official said the incident blasted a hole through the top of the oil tanker’s bridge, where the captain and crew command the vessel.
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The Mercer Street is managed by London-based Zodiac Maritime, part of Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer’s Zodiac Group.
The firm said the attack killed two crew members – one from the UK and the other from Romania but did not name them.
The company did not provide further details but said it believed no other crew members on board were harmed.
British maritime security firm Ambrey said the attack on the Mercer Street had killed one of its team members on board the vessel.
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