Iran: Smoke plumes appear to rise from ship on Gulf of Oman
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The Foreign Secretary said the UK has concluded that “it is highly likely” Iran carried out an “unlawful and callous attack” on a ship off the coast of Oman, which left a British and Romanian national dead. The strike on the tanker, Mercer Street, on Thursday night was the first known deadly attack after years of assaults on commercial shipping in the region, which have been linked to tensions with Iran over its nuclear deal.
In a statement, Dominic Raab said: “The UK condemns the unlawful and callous attack committed on a merchant vessel off the coast of Oman, which killed a British and a Romanian national.
“Our thoughts are with the friends and family of those killed in the incident.
“We believe this attack was deliberate, targeted, and a clear violation of international law by Iran.
“UK assessments have concluded that it is highly likely that Iran attacked the MV Mercer Street in international waters off Oman on July 29 using one or more unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
Dominic Raab promises ‘response’ to Iran’s killing of Briton (Image: PA)
“Iran must end such attacks, and vessels must be allowed to navigate freely in accordance with international law.
“The UK is working with our international partners on a concerted response to this unacceptable attack.”
It comes after the UK had been urged by Israel to fire back at Iran after they claimed Tehran was responsible for the drone attack that killed a British man.
Israeli Foreign Minister, Yair Lapid, said: “I noted to Mr Raab the need to respond severely to the attack.
Iran claimed it was not involved in the attack (Image: GETTY)
“Iran is not just an Israeli problem, but an exporter of terror, destruction and instability that hurt us all.
“The world must not be silent in the face of Iranian terror.”
The Henry Jackson Society think-tank also claimed the UK Government appeared to be “ignoring Iran’s malfeasances for too long”.
They also accused the UK Government of allowing the Iranian regime to “get away with murder”.
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The think tank then urged the Foreign Secretary to “finally act” and said that appeasing Iran was “naive” and “plain stupid”.
Sam Armstrong, director of communications at the Henry Jackson Society, told The Daily Mail: “The UK has ignored Iran’s malfeasances for too long.
“From the kidnapping of Nazanin Zatgari-Ratcliffe to the attacks on Saudi oilfields to the hijacking of British flagged boats, we have let Iran get away with murder.
“Now that the Government has seen the deadly consequences of this outrageous negligence it must finally act.”
The UK had been urged by Israel to fire back at Iran (Image: EXPRESS)
Earlier this week, the unidentified UK citizen, as well as a Romanian crew member, died after a strike on the MV Mercer Street oil tanker.
The strike is said to have also involved a so-called kamikaze drone, which was packed with explosives and detonated on impact.
The Mercer Street is managed by London-based Zodiac Maritime, part of Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer’s Zodiac Group.
The Foreign Office said the drone assault followed similar attacks on three other Israeli-linked ships in the region since February.
The Foreign Secretary said “it is highly likely” Iran carried out an “unlawful and callous attack” (Image: GETTY)
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh claimed that Iran was not involved in the assault.
He also called Israel’s allegation “baseless” during a news conference.
Express.co.uk has contacted both the UK Foreign Office and the Iranian Embassy in London for a response.