Iran Rejects G-7 Accusations Over Fatal Attack on Oil Tanker

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iran on Saturday denounced accusations by leading industrial nations that Tehran was behind last week's deadly attack on an oil tanker in the Arabian Sea, the official IRNA news agency reported.

The report quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh as saying Iran "strongly condemns" Friday's statement by foreign ministers of the Group of Seven. The group is made up of representatives of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the U.S.

Khatibzadeh said the statement made baseless accusations against Iran. He called the accusation a "scenario" created by Israel and said Israel has had a long history designing similar "plots."

The vessel Mercer Street is managed by a firm owned by an Israeli billionaire, and Israel -- along with the U.S. and Britain -- had previously pointed the finger at Tehran.

The G-7 said Friday the July 29 attack in international waters in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Oman that killed two people was "a clear violation of international law." They added that "all available evidence clearly points to Iran."

"We condemn the unlawful attack committed on a merchant vessel," the foreign ministers said in a joint statement. "This was a deliberate and targeted attack, and a clear violation of international law."

Khatibzadeh said Iran as been committed to providing security in the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz and said Iran was ready to work with nations to form a collective security system while defending its sovereignty.

In their statement, the G-7 countries said "Iran's behavior, alongside its support to proxy forces and non-state armed actors, threatens international peace and security."

"We call on Iran to stop all activities inconsistent with relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions, and call on all parties to play a constructive role in fostering regional stability and peace," they said.

The ministers called for vessels in the region to be able to "navigate freely in accordance with international law."

Iran has routinely rejected any responsibility for similar past attacks in the region.