A senior Iranian lawmaker on Wednesday blamed Israel, the United States and Saudi Arabia for an alleged attack on an oil tanker last week off the Saudi coast and said he would take the complaint to the UN.
Tehran says the Iranian-flagged Sabiti tanker was hit by two separate explosions off the Red Sea port of Jeddah on Friday.
“The footages that the cameras mounted on the oil tanker have taken show that the attack has been carried out by the US, the Zionist regime and al-Saud,” MP Abolfazl Hassan Beigi was quoted saying by the Fars news agency.
Hassan Beigi, a member of the Iranian parliament’s national security and foreign policy commission, claimed without evidence that the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia were alleging the Islamic State jihadist group or Afghanistan’s Taliban was behind the explosions in the Red Sea.
He also asserted Iran was in possession of documents pointing to the involvement of “certain governments” in the incident.
“There are abundant documents and evidence of interference of certain governments in the attack against the Iranian oil tanker and they will be presented to the UN and UN Security Council and the countries which played a role in the terrorist attack should pay the price for their deeds,” he said.
Also Wednesday, Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s National Security Council, warned there would be a “harsh response” to whoever was behind the explosions.
If confirmed, the Sabiti would be the first Iranian ship to have been targeted since a spate of attacks on vessels in the Gulf that Washington blamed on Tehran.
The National Iranian Tanker Company on Monday released pictures showing two gaping holes in the hull of the tanker. The holes were above the waterline on the ship’s starboard side.
The explosions caused oil to spill from the tanker into the Red Sea, the NITC said, before it was eventually controlled and the vessel began slowly moving back towards Gulf waters.
The incident follows a series of unexplained attacks in May and June on shipping in and around the Gulf, a vital waterway linking oil-producing countries to world markets, as well as drone attacks on Saudi oil installations.
Washington accused Tehran of attacking the vessels with mines and to be behind the drone assault, something it strongly denied.
Iran said that the “cowardly” attack on its own tanker was caused by a missile strike and vowed not to let it go unanswered.
But the state-owned NITC denied reports the attack had originated from Saudi soil.