DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – Iran on Sunday denied launching the drone attack on an oil tanker off the coast of Oman that left two dead, even as Israel alleges Tehran led the assault amid heightened tensions in the region.
The comment by Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh marked the first official comments on the attack on Tehran, which will see the inauguration of a new president on Thursday.
Thursday night’s strike on the Mercer Street tanker marked the first known deadly attack after years of attacks on commercial shipping in the region linked to tensions with Iran over its tattered nuclear deal. Although no one claimed responsibility for the attack, Israeli officials claimed that Tehran launched the drone strike.
On Sunday, Khatibzadeh called Iran’s bombing allegation “baseless.”
“Such blame games are not new,” Khatibzadeh said. “Those responsible for this (attack) are the ones who allowed the Israeli regime to gain a foothold in this region. “
The US Navy is now escorting the tanker to a safe port.