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Britain says UN Security Council ‘must respond to Iran’s destabilizing actions’

UK foreign secretary says he wrote to head of international body, along with Romania and Liberia, over Tehran’s ‘lack of respect for international law’ with deadly attack on ship

Tugboats are moored next to the Israeli-linked tanker MT Mercer Street, off the Fujairah port in the United Arab Emirates, on August 3, 2021. (Karim Sahib/AFP)
Tugboats are moored next to the Israeli-linked tanker MT Mercer Street, off the Fujairah port in the United Arab Emirates, on August 3, 2021. (Karim Sahib/AFP)

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said Wednesday that Britain had written to the head of the UN Security Council, along with Romania and Liberia, to insist that action be taken against Iran over a deadly attack on an Israel-linked tanker last week.

“The UK has written to UN Security Council President T S Tirumurti alongside Romania and Liberia to raise Iran’s attack on MV Mercer Street,” Raab tweeted.

“The Council must respond to Iran’s destabilizing actions and lack of respect for international law.”

Hebrew media reported Tuesday that Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid were set to hold a briefing for UN Security Council representatives during which they will present them with intelligence information showing Iran’s responsibility for the attack.

A British security guard and a Romanian crew member were killed in the drone attack on the Liberian-flagged ship last week. Analysts said it bore all the hallmarks of the “shadow war” between Iran and Israel, which has included attacks on shipping in waters around the Gulf.

The US, UK and Israel have blamed Iran for the attack on the ship, managed by a company owned by prominent Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer, as it sailed off Oman.

British Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, speaks at a press conference at Khartoum International Airport, in Khartoum, Sudan, January 21, 2021. (Marwan Ali/AP)

Israel, the United States and the United Kingdom vowed a “collective response” to the attack, without elaborating.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett issued a warning to Iran Tuesday, saying Tehran will pay the price for the strike on the ship.

“We are working to enlist the whole world, but when the time comes, we know how to act alone,” the premier said. “Iran knows the price that we’ll exact when anyone threatens our security.”

The oil tanker Mercer Street, which came under attack last week off Oman, is seen moored off Fujairah, United Arab Emirates, Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2021 (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)

Iran and its allied militias have previously used similar “suicide” drones in attacks.

Tehran has denied involvement and warned against “adventurism.”

Amid heightened tensions between Iran and the West over Tehran’s tattered nuclear deal with world powers, commercial shipping in the region has found itself caught in the crosshairs.

Earlier Wednesday, the British navy said hijackers who boarded a vessel off the coast of the United Arab Emirates in the Gulf of Oman had left the ship.

The notice came after the British military’s United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations warned of a “potential hijack” under unclear circumstances underway the night before. The group reported that the “incident [is] complete.” It did not provide further details.

According to the Reuters news agency, which quoted two security maritime sources, Iranian-backed forces were believed to have seized the tanker.

On Tuesday evening at least six ships off the coast of the United Arab Emirates broadcast warnings that they had lost control of their steering under unclear circumstances, before the vessel was hijacked.

Apparently responding to the incident, Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh as calling the recent maritime attacks in the region “completely suspicious.” He denied that Iran was involved.

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