UK Envoy to Iran Denies Summoned over Tanker Incident

UK Envoy to Iran Denies Summoned over Tanker Incident

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – UK Ambassador to Iran Robert Macaire denied reports that he was summoned by the Iranian government over London’s position on recent attacks on two tankers in the Sea of Oman.

“Interesting. And news to me. I asked for an urgent meeting with the Foreign Ministry yesterday and it was granted. No ‘summons’. Of course if formally summoned, I would always respond, as would all Ambassadors,” Macaire said in a Twitter post on Sunday.

Macaire attended a meeting at the Iranian Foreign Ministry on Saturday to hear Iran’s objection to a statement by Britain’s Foreign and Common Wealth Office that has blamed Iran for the attacks that occurred in the Sea of Oman on Thursday.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday blamed Iran for the attacks on the Norwegian-owned MT Front Altair and the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous, citing intelligence, the weapons used, expertise required and similar recent attacks.

The US military released a video later on Thursday that it allegedly shows Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps removing a mine from one of the targeted oil tankers after evacuation.

The captain of the Kokuka disputed the US assertion on Friday.

“Our crew said that the ship was attacked by a flying object,” said Yutaka Katada, president of ship operator Kokuka Sangyo.

Katada, citing accounts from the ship’s crew, said, “I do not think there was a time bomb or an object attached to the side of the ship," according to The New York Times.

Iran has denied any role in the event, and some observers have raised questions about whether the intelligence was being used as a pretext for the US to escalate conflict with the country and bring back Tehran to the negotiating table.

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