Iran accuses Israel of attacking Iranian ship in the Mediterranean

March 15, 2021 - 22:9

TEHRAN – Saeed Khatibzadeh, spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry, said on Monday that Tehran has evidence suggesting that Israel may have been behind an attack on an Iranian container ship in the Mediterranean Sea.

Speaking at a weekly press conference on Monday, the spokesman said that identifying those behind the attack was up to the General Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces but the finger of blame for the attack can be pointed at Israel, given the location of the attack, which points the finger at Israel. 

“The (Israeli) regime’s ferocious and aggressive nature also corroborates this,” the spokesman said, noting that Israel has always sought to stoke unrest in the region. 

“That regime (Israel) finds its survival in war, crisis and chaos. Iran would consider all options when it finds out who has been involved in this operation, and will resort to them to protect its legitimate rights,” Khatibzadeh continued. 

He pointed out that Iran does not hesitate to safeguard its national interests, nor does it compromise with anybody on this issue. “The Israeli officials are aware how Iran defends itself,” Khatibzadeh noted, according to Tasnim.

The spokesman also said that Iran will use all options to defend its rights against those behind the attack. 

Tensions have been on the rise between Iran and Israel over the past years. The Wall Street Journal has recently reported that Israel has targeted at least 12 vessels linked to Iran since 2019. According to the American newspaper, these ships were mostly carrying Iranian oil.

Iran has not reacted to this allegation.

On Friday, Iran announced that an Iranian merchant ship was targeted with an “explosive object” in the Mediterranean.

Ali Ghiasian, a spokesman for the Shipping Company of the Islamic Republic of Iran, said in an exclusive interview with Nournews that “part of the ship's hull was damaged after an explosive device hit the Iranian container ship Shahrekord on Wednesday, March 11, in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea.”

“This vessel, which belongs to the Container Transportation of Iran's shipping company, was on its way from Iran to Europe,” the Iranian official continued.

Citing a member of the Iranian team investigating the attack, Nour News reported on Saturday that the Israeli involvement in this “terrorist act is very strong.” The expert pointed to the impact of high-explosive objects on a number of containers on the deck of the ship, noting that the explosive projectiles could have been fired from a flying vehicle at the ship.

“Considering the geographical location and the way the ship was targeted, one of the strong probabilities is that this terrorist operation was carried out by the Zionist regime,” he said.

Israeli media outlets also said that Israel may be involved in the attack. The Israeli authorities did not claim responsibility for the attack. But they also refused to deny involvement in the attack, something that prompted observers to speculate over who was behind the attack, which happened amid heightened tensions between Iran and the West over the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

SM/PA

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