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European Union says evidence ‘clearly points to Iran’ in deadly attack on tanker

Josep Borrell condemns ‘unlawful attack’ on Israel-linked Mercer Street vessel; Tehran continues to deny allegations

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell speaks during a media conference in Brussels, June 30, 2020. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, Pool)
European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell speaks during a media conference in Brussels, June 30, 2020. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, Pool)

The European Union on Sunday issued a statement condemning last month’s fatal drone attack on an Israel-linked commercial vessel in the Arabian Sea, saying that “all available evidence clearly points to Iran.”

The EU’s High Representative for foreign policy, Josep Borrell, condemned “in strongest terms the unlawful attack committed on the merchant vessel Mercer Street, off Masirah Island in Oman.

“Such reckless and unilateral actions, against international law and threatening to international peace, are unacceptable and need to stop,” he added. “Freedom of navigation must be guaranteed in accordance with international law.

“The EU will continue the intense diplomatic efforts to advance appropriate and effective dialogue and solutions.”

Tehran had strongly denied any link to the July 29 attack on the MT Mercer Street, an oil products tanker managed by a firm owned by an Israeli billionaire, but faced an increasing wave of accusations in recent days from Israel, the United States, and Britain, as well as other countries.

A British security guard and a Romanian crew member were killed in the attack.

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

The EU condemnation came following a statement on Friday from the G7 countries saying that “Iran’s behavior, alongside its support to proxy forces and non-state armed actors, threatens international peace and security.”

“We call on Iran to stop all activities inconsistent with relevant UN Security Council resolutions, and call on all parties to play a constructive role in fostering regional stability and peace,” they said.

Also Friday, the US Central Command said that remnants from one of three explosives-laden drones that targeted the MT Mercer Street indicated it was produced in Iran.

The report said explosive experts were able to recover several pieces from the UAV that struck the ship “and internal components which were nearly identical to previously collected examples from Iranian one-way attack UAVs. The distances from the Iranian coast to the locations of the attacks were within the range of documented Iranian one-way attack UAVs.”

The findings were shared with the UK and Israeli explosive experts and “both partners concurred with the US findings,” the CENTCOM report said.

However, while the report concluded that the drone was made in Iran, it did not specify that Iran was the party controlling it when it crashed into the Mercer Street.

Iran’s military denied the allegations.

“The Americans say they have found parts of Iran’s drones in the water, and this is their evidence. But what laboratory has determined [the drones] belong to Iran?” military spokesman Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi was quoted by IRNA news agency as saying.

“This is the Americans’ method, to weave stories and use it to accuse Iran… this is the method they have chosen to pressure Iran,” he added.

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