U.K. Prime Minister Johnson Says Iran Must Pay for 'Outrageous' Ship Attack

Reuters
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Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, July 29, 2021.
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, July 29, 2021.Credit: Tolga Akmen,AP
Reuters

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday that Iran must face up to the consequences of its "outrageous" attack on an Israeli-managed tanker off the coast of Oman.

"Iran should face up to the consequences of what they've done," Johnson told reporters. "This was clearly an unacceptable and outrageous attack on commercial shipping."

"A U.K. national died. It is absolutely vital that Iran and every other country, respects the freedoms of navigation around the world and the U.K. will continue to insist on that."  Britain also summoned Iran's ambassador to the U.K. on Monday.

The Mercer Street, a tanker attacked off the Oman coast, seen in Cape Town, South Africa, 2015.Credit: Johan Victor/Handout via REUTERS

This came after an Iranian official warned of a "strong" response to any move that threatens Tehran's security, an Iranian news agency said on Monday, after the United States, Britain and Israel blamed Iran for an attack on an Israeli-managed tanker.

Also on Monday, Defense Minister Benny Gantz said that “Iran’s aggression, in general and at sea in particular, is intensifying" and urged immediate action against the Islamic Republic. 

"This is exactly the reason why we must act now against Iran, which does not only strive to achieve military-grade nuclear power, but is also striving to get dangerous armaments and is threatening the stability of the Middle East," Gantz said, adding: "This isn't a future threat, but a clear and immediate danger."

Iran has denied any involvement in the attack off the coast of Oman last week in which two crew members – a Briton and a Romanian – were killed.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran has no hesitation in protecting its security and national interests and will respond promptly and strongly to any possible adventure," state television quoted Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh as saying.

Khatibzadeh "strongly regretted the baseless accusations made by the British Foreign Secretary against the Islamic Republic of Iran, which were repeated by the U.S. Secretary of State in the same context and contained contradictory, false and provocative accusations".

The United States and Britain said on Sunday they would work with their partners to respond to last week's attack on the Mercer Street, a Liberian-flagged, Japanese-owned petroleum product tanker managed by Israeli-owned Zodiac Maritime.

Britain said it was highly likely that Iran carried out the attack, using one or two drones.

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