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Iranian Oil Tanker Reportedly Struck by Two Missiles Off Saudi Coast

Published: October 11, 2019
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Source: Common Dreams

"All the responsibility for the act, including the extensive environmental pollution in the region, fall on those behind the dangerous adventure," said a spokesman for Iran's foreign minister.

A handout picture released by Iranian state television network IRIB on October 10, 2019 shows the Iranian crude oil tanker Sabiti sailing in the Red Sea. (Handout/Irib Tv/Afp Via Getty Images)

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An Iranian oil tanker was reportedly struck by two missiles off the coast of Saudi Arabia early Friday morning in what Iran's state media said may have been a "terrorist attack."

Iran has not officially assigned blame for the incident, which sparked explosions and an oil spill that is now reportedly under control.

"The National Iranian Tanker Co., which owns the oil tanker Sabiti, said the vessel was in the Red Sea, about 60 miles off the Saudi Arabian port of Jeddah, when it was likely hit by missiles that damaged its main tanks," the Wall Street Journal reported. "The ship's crew were unharmed, NITC said on its Telegram account."

NITC said it "looks like" the incident could have been caused by a missile attack but it is not yet sure.

Abbas Mousavi, spokesman for Iran's foreign ministry, called the incident a "dangerous act" and said Iran is working to determine the culprit.

"The investigations conducted by the National Iranian Tanker Company indicate the Iranian tanker has sustained damages after being targeted twice, at half-hourly intervals, from a place near its shipping route in the east of the Red Sea," Mousavi said during a press conference. "All the responsibility for the act, including the extensive environmental pollution in the region, fall on those behind the dangerous adventure."

The incident comes just weeks after Saudi Arabia and the Trump administration, on the basis of flimsy evidence, blamed Iran for drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities and threatened retaliation. Iran denied responsibility and cautioned against conflict based on "deception."

"We don't want war. We don't want to engage in a military confrontation," said Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif in an interview last month. "We believe that a military confrontation based on deception is awful, will have a lot of casualties."

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