UK oil worker dead as Israeli ship attacked off coast of Oman

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The British national, along with a Romanian oil worker, were both killed following an explosion on board the M/T Mercer Street. A statement from the ship read: “With profound sadness, we understand the incident onboard the M/T Mercer Street on July 29, 2021 has resulted in the deaths of two crew members onboard: a Romanian national and a UK national. We are not aware of harm to any other personnel.

“Our primary concern remains the safety and wellbeing of everyone onboard and all those affected by the situation.

“Details of the incident are still being established and an investigation into the incident is currently underway.

“We continue to work closely with the UKMTO and other relevant authorities.

“We have no additional details to share this time.”

Israeli-owned ship attacked off coast of Oman as tensions with Iran sky-rocket

Israeli-owned ship attacked off coast of Oman as tensions with Iran sky-rocket (Image: Marine Vessel Traffic)

A brief statement from the UK’s Maritime Trade Operations said the suspected attack did not involve piracy.

Today the British Defence Ministry identified the nationality of the ship’s owners but did not elaborate further.

This incident comes amid heightened tensions between Israel and Iran as negotiations remain stalled over Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers.

Under the Trump administration, the US imposed crippling sanctions on Iran after Donald Trump withdrew from the nuclear agreement in 2018.

Under the Trump administration, the US imposed crippling sanctions on Iran

Under the Trump administration, the US imposed crippling sanctions on Iran (Image: Getty)

The nuclear deal had restricted Iran’s nuclear weapons capability in return for sanctions relief.

Iran began publicly exceeding enrichment limits set by the agreement saying it would return to compliance if the US did the same.

Former US President Donald Trump introduced a number of sanctions on Iranian oil exports which have crippled Tehran’s economy.

The Iranian Parliament recently passed a law which if implement would expand Tehran’s nuclear programme and limit the monitoring access of the IAEA.

READ MORE: Israel-Gaza ceasefire won’t solve Middle East tensions, warns expert

Israel’s new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett

Israel’s new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett (Image: Getty)

Under Iran’s nuclear deal with major powers, Tehran can only use first-generation IR-1 centrifuges at the underground plant.

These are also the only machines Iran can accumulate enriched uranium with.

President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said: “The person who makes the decision about whether Iran will go back into the Iran nuclear deal, will assume its nuclear obligations under international law, is not the president of Iran, it is the supreme leader of Iran, and that person did not change from before the election.”

In June, Israel’s new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett called on world powers to “wake up” to the perils of returning to a nuclear agreement with Tehran.

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Iran v Israel

Iran v Israel (Image: Express)

Back in March, tensions between Israel and Iran reached boiling point as US President Joe Biden attempted to revive the Tehran nuclear deal.

According to reports, both sides are drawing up plans of attack and Iran’s Defence Minister said the country would retaliate if attacked.

Iran’s Defence Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami dismissed Israeli leaders as “dogs” and said the country was “too small to show hostility to the Islamic Republic”.

He said: “The Zionist regime knows – and if it does not know, it should know – that if it makes a mistake, the Islamic Republic will raze down Tel Aviv and Haifa.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Image: Getty)

“I advise them not to make this mistake, even in words.”

Back in January, Iranian Armed Forces spokesperson Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi said Tehran could “level Haifa and Tel Aviv in the shortest possible time”.

Israeli’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Israel “will never allow Iran to become nuclear-capable or anywhere close to it”.

He told Fox News Radio: “If the world stops them before, it’s very much good.

US President Joe Biden

US President Joe Biden (Image: Getty)

“But if not, we must stand independently and we must defend ourselves by ourselves.”

In February, the now-former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country would stop Iran’s nuclear programme “with or without” the JCPOA.

He said: “You know my policy. Iran is Israel’s biggest enemy.

“I am determined to fend it off. We are striking at it all over the region.”

Roy Walsh

Roy Walsh

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