US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Friday, August 6, pledged to cooperate closely on regional security after they blamed Iran for the recent attack on an oil tanker.
Austin and Gantz referred to the July 29 attack on the Mercer Street oil tanker, owned by Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer, and “expressed concern about the spread and use of unidirectional attack drones by Iran throughout the Persian Gulf region.”
In this way, defense leaders pledged to continue to cooperate closely on regional security, according to the Pentagon.
See also: Iran denies being behind an attack on an Israeli tanker off the coast of Oman
“They agreed to work with allies and partners to condemn Iranian aggression that undermines freedom of navigation, and exchanged views on next steps,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in a statement.
The Group of Seven, the world’s most powerful and richest country, issued a statement on Friday officially blaming Iran for the attack on the ship that killed two sailors.
Similarly, US Central Command (CENTCOM), the Pentagon’s command in the Middle East, confirmed that the ship had been attacked by drones twice before the third fatal attack occurred.
Explosives experts were able to recover parts from the third drone, including a vertical stabilizer and internal components that the US military said were “virtually identical to those previously collected from an Iranian unidirectional attack drone.”
The US Central Command said: “The distance from the Iranian coast to the attack sites was within range of the Iranian unidirectional attack drones.”
He added, “After conducting an on-site analysis, part of the materials were transferred to the headquarters of the US Fifth Fleet in Manama, Bahrain, and then to a US national laboratory for further testing and verification.”
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Iran denied the allegations and said it would respond “quickly and forcefully” if Israel took military action.
Iranian ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said earlier this week that “Iran does not hesitate to protect its security and national interests and will respond quickly and firmly to any possible adventure.”
Khatibzadeh described the accusations made by the United States against Iran as “contradictory, false and provocative,” describing them as “extremely unfortunate.”
In addition, he said that Iran had been “a defender of safe navigation in the Persian Gulf and international waters” and that it was “always ready to cooperate to provide maritime security to the countries of the region.”
* Juan Felipe Velez contributed to this note.
Anadolu Agency website contains only part of the news stories presented to subscribers on the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summary.
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