Iran Blames Israel for Explosion that Damaged Container Ship in Mediterranean

By Arsalan Shahla | March 15, 2021

Iran said Israel was likely behind an explosion that damaged an Iranian container ship in the Mediterranean last week, as the longtime foes trade accusations of attacks at sea.

“The geographical location of the sabotage operation directs the first suspicion toward Israel,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told reporters at a briefing. The Islamic Republic will consider “all options” to respond to the perpetrators, he said.

Iran said on Friday that the Shahr E Kord cargo vessel had been damaged two days earlier by an explosive device in international waters.

The claim followed two earlier maritime incidents in which Israel had alleged Iranian involvement.

In February, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Iran was responsible for an unexplained blast on an Israeli-owned cargo vessel in the Persian Gulf. And early this month, an Israeli minister accused Iran of “environmental terrorism,” saying one of its ships had dumped oil in Israeli waters that later washed up on shore.

An Israeli maritime intelligence specialist later said the crude spill likely originated from sanctions-busting oil trade between Iran and Syria.

Photograph: Shipping containers at Bandar Imam Khomeini (BIK) port in Bandar Imam Khomeini, Iran. Photo credit: Ali Mohammadi/Bloomberg

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