Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs rejected a United States accusation that a drone launched from Iran targeted a chemical tanker off the coast of India.
Nasser Kanani, a spokesperson for the ministry declared the claims “Worthless” when asked about the Pentagon’s accusations on Monday.
“Such claims are aimed at projecting, distracting public attention, and covering up for the full support of the American government for the crimes of the Zionist regime (Israel) in Gaza,” he added.
It is the first time the United States Defense Department publicly accused the Iranian government of targeting a tank directly.
The incident took place 200 nautical miles (370km) southwest of the city of Veraval in India's Gujarat state, according to United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO).
In a statement, United Kingdom Foreign Secretary David Cameron also criticized Iran and described it as a “malign influence in the region and the world” and urged a “set of deterrent measures” against it.
Meanwhile, Iran’s Foreign Ministry slammed his remarks as "repetitive" and "threadbare."
Pentagon claimed that “The motor vessel Chem Pluto, a Liberia-flagged, Japanese-owned, and Netherlands-operated chemical tanker was struck at approximately 10 a.m. local time (6 a.m. Greenwich Mean Time) today in the Indian Ocean, 200 nautical miles from the coast of India, by a one-way attack drone fired from Iran.”
The incident caused a small fire on the tanker, but it was quickly put out and there were no reported injuries and casualties, as Voice of America reported. The US defense Officials claimed that this was the "seventh Iranian attack on commercial shipping since 2021.
Defense Secretary Grant Shapps told the Sunday Times newspaper that the UK was committed to repelling attacks on vessels - and would not allow the Red Sea to become a "no-go area" as BB
The December 23 targeting came amid a flurry of drone and missile attacks by Yemen's Houthi rebels in the Red Sea in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza.
The Houthis’ recent attacks on shipping vessels in the Red Sea have prompted major firms to reroute their cargo vessels around the southern tip of Africa, a much longer voyage with higher fuel costs.
Iran has repeatedly dismissed US and Israeli accusations that Tehran was involved in attacks by the Houthis, saying the group was acting on its own.
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