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UK Summons Iran Envoy over oil tanker attack

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The Iranian Ambassador to the UK, Mohsen Baharvand, was summoned today to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office over the attack on an oil tanker  off the coast of Oman, last week in which two crew members – a Briton and a Romanian – were killed.

James Cleverly, a Foreign Office minister, emphasized to the ambassador, that Iran must “immediately cease actions that risk international peace and security”,  stressing that “vessels must be allowed to navigate freely in accordance with international law”.

Iran, however have denied the accusations. According to Isna news agency,

The UK, US and Israel blame Iran for the attack comes amid long running tensions between Iran and Israel.

Foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh warned that Iran would not hesitate in defending its security and national interests and would respond strongly to any “possible adventurism”.

In comments carried by the semi-official Isna news agency, Mr Khatibzadeh said the allegations “were contradictory, false and provocative accusations”.

Both the US and UK said a drone was used in the attack on the MV Mercer Street, which is managed by the London-based company Zodiac Maritime.

The tanker had been travelling in the northern Indian Ocean to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.

There have been a spate of attacks on both Israeli- and Iranian-operated vessels, with both countries trading accusations in what has been described as a shadow war between the two regional rivals. But while vessels have been damaged before casualties are rare.

British police have opened an enquiry into the death of the British man killed. His identity is yet unknown but  prior to the attack, he was working as a security guard on board.

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