United States military and Group of Seven countries on Friday blamed Iran for an attack on the HV Mercer Street in international waters in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Oman.
Gatekeepers News reports that the incident which happened on July 29, left two persons dead, a British and a Romanian national.
U.S. Central Command said it had collected and analysed substantial evidence last week attack was carried out by an Iranian drone loaded with a military-grade explosive.
“U.S. experts concluded based on the evidence that this UAV was produced in Iran,” it said, using the military term for an “unmanned aerial vehicle.”
Britain’s U.N. Ambassador Barbara Woodward told reporters that the drone is a Shahed-136 UAV, after the U.N. Security Council discussed the tanker attack behind closed doors that “these are manufactured only in Iran.”
Asked about possible U.N. Security Council action, Woodward said “the door for diplomacy and dialogue remains open, but if Iran chooses not to take that route, then we would seek to hold Iran to account and apply a cost.”
Meanwhile, the foreign ministers of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States said the attack was “a clear violation of international law.” They added that “all available evidence clearly points to Iran.” Iran has denied being involved.
According to the Central Command, the ship had been targeted by three drones but that the first two were unsuccessful.
“The investigative team determined that the extensive damage to the Mercer Street … was the result of a third UAV attack.”
It said the drone attack had caused an approximately 6-foot-diameter hole in the pilothouse of the vessel and had badly damaged the interior. It said an analysis of the explosive concluded that the drone had been rigged “to cause injury and destruction.”
Gatekeepers News reports that the Central Command in its report said the triangle-shaped Delta wing drones used in the Mercer Street attack were also used in 2019 strikes on the heart of the Saudi oil industry, which temporarily halved the kingdom’s production and sent markets spiking.
Also, the G-7 foreign ministers on Friday condemned the attack.
“We condemn the unlawful attack committed on a merchant vessel,” the foreign ministers said in a joint statement.
“This was a deliberate and targeted attack, and a clear violation of international law. All available evidence clearly points to Iran. There is no justification for this attack.”
G7 further stated that “Iran’s behavior, alongside its support to proxy forces and non-state armed actors, threatens international peace and security.
“We call on Iran to stop all activities inconsistent with relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions, and call on all parties to play a constructive role in fostering regional stability and peace,” they said.
The ministers called for vessels in the region to be able to “navigate freely in accordance with international law.”
“We will continue to do our utmost to protect all shipping, upon which the global economy depends so that it is able to operate freely and without being threatened by irresponsible and violent acts,” they added.