Iran: Allegations of Oil Tanker Attack Are ‘Baseless’

Israeli PM: Iran's denial is 'cowardly'

What happened to the tanker Mercer Street off the coast of Oman Thursday remains a subject of a lot of speculation. The tanker, headed from Der es Salaam to Fujiarah was hit by what has been accused of being a drone. Two workers on board, a British man and a Romanian, were killed.

Ties to Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer led to immediate attempts to blame Iran. Iran’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Sunday rejecting the “baseless accusations” against them, saying it’s not the first time Israel’s accused them of something without evidence.

Israeli Premier Naftali Bennett reacted angrily to the statement, saying Iran is trying to deny the attack “in a cowardly manner,” and reiterated that there can be no question Iran is to blame.

Bennett claimed intelligence exists on Iran’s blame, and the Israeli government is looking to take the matter to the UN, pushing action for the “terrorism” of the attack. The US has, of course, endorsed the Israeli narrative.

Britain also seems to be comfortable with the claim, saying it is “highly likely” Iran is to blame. No one seems to be addressing the reasons Iran might not have done it.

Timing is a big question here. With Iran about a week short of a change in administrations, it would be strange for the outgoing Rouhani government to take such an escalatory action in its final days.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of