This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
Iran has described as a “cowardly attack” an incident that Iranian media have called the apparent targeting by missiles of an Iranian-owned oil tanker.
“An appropriate response will be given to the designers of this cowardly attack, but we will wait until all aspects of the plot are clarified,” government spokesman Ali Rabei was quoted as saying by the official news agency IRNA on October 12.
The Sabiti tanker was apparently hit in Red Sea waters off Saudi Arabia on October 11, Iranian media have reported.
#BREAKING: Reports show that the attack on #Iran‘s oil tanker #Sinopa is not carried-out directly by Royal #SaudiArabia Navy in #RedSea near #Jeddah. Sources close to Iranian owner of the ship claim that is a sabotage is most likely carried-out by #AlQaeda on request of #KSA! pic.twitter.com/qpxtRaW4Og
— Babak Taghvaee (@BabakTaghvaee) October 11, 2019
The incident, yet to be independently confirmed, is the latest involving oil tankers in the Red Sea and Gulf region, and may ratchet up tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia, regional rivals involved in a proxy war in Yemen, which lies at the southern end of the Red Sea.
The United States has blamed Iran for attacks on tankers in the Gulf in May and June as well as for strikes on Saudi oil sites in September. Tehran has denied having a role in any of them.
Tehran and Washington have been at loggerheads since the United States last year withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.
Saudi Arabia had no immediate comment on the October 11 reported attack on the Iranian-owned tanker.
The U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, which operates in the region, said it was aware of the reports but had no further information.
There was no claim of responsibility for the reported incident