- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 1, 2021

The Biden administration is joining its allies in putting the blame on Iran for an apparent drone attack last week that killed two crewmembers aboard a petroleum tanker operated by an Israeli shipping magnate in the tense Arabian Sea off the coast of Oman.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a statement Sunday afternoon condemned the attack and said the evidence the U.S. has so far points strongly to Tehran as the culprit.

“We join our partners and allies in our strong condemnation of the attack against the Mercer Street, a commercial ship that was peacefully transiting through the north Arabian Sea in international waters,” Mr. Blinken said in a statement. “Upon review of the available information, we are confident that Iran conducted this attack, which killed two innocent people, using one-way explosive [drones], a lethal capability it is increasingly employing throughout the region.”

Mr. Blinken said the U.S. is consulting with allies on how to respond. The attack comes even as the Biden administration is struggling to revive the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran that President Trump repudiated in 2018.

Israel and Britain have already fingered Iran for the Mercer Street strike, which is operated by a London-based company controlled by Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer.

Two crew members, one from the U.K. and one from Romania, were killed in last week’s attack, the company said.

Iran has strongly denied any role in the incident, with a Foreign Ministry spokesman in Tehran on Sunday blaming the “childish allegations” on the “Zionist lobby” and its supporters in Washington.

• David R. Sands can be reached at dsands@washingtontimes.com.

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