Wed, 20 Nov 2019

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.

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

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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