Iran summons UK envoy over ‘unacceptable’ attack claims on Gulf tankers

Tehran [Iran]: Iran’s Foreign Ministry on Saturday summoned the British ambassador to Tehran, Rob Macaire, over UK’s “unacceptable stance” on the attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman earlier this week.

A statement issued by the UK Foreign Office on Saturday had accused Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) of carrying out the attack on the oil tankers. The decision to summon Macaire was made following an assumption made by Britain’s Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt that the IRGC was “almost certainly” behind the attack, reported Sputnik.

“During the meeting with Iran’s foreign ministry official, Iran strongly criticised Britain’s unacceptable stance regarding the attacks in the Gulf of Oman … No other country but Britain has supported America’s accusations over the attacks,” ISNA reported.

Friday’s statement by the UK Foreign Office was an echo of the stance by the United States shortly after the incident, where it pinned the blame of the attack on the Islamic Republic. To back its claim, the US had even released a blurry video, which, the country believed, showed the boat crew of IRGC removing an exploded mine from one of the tankers shortly after the attack.

“The attack on two oil tankers on June 13 was one in a list of Iranian and Iranian-backed attacks over the last month. It was a clear threat to peace, security and freedom of navigation,” US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo had said. “The US will defend its force, interests, partners and allies. We call upon all nations threatened to join us in that endeavour.”

The allegation was immediately denounced by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. “The US had immediately jumped to make allegations against Iran without a shred of factual or circumstantial evidence.”

Russia came to Iran’s support and warned against “hasty conclusions” over the incident. “I would use this opportunity to warn against hasty conclusions, from any attempts to impose responsibility on those who are seen as undesirable,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters after a meeting of the State Duma’s international affairs committee, RIA-Novosti reported.


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