Iran rejects U.S. accusation of attacking tanker in Indian Ocean

(Xinhua) 11:14, December 26, 2023

TEHRAN, Dec. 25 (Xinhua) -- Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Nasser Kanaani on Monday rejected the U.S. accusation that an Iranian drone attacked a chemical tanker operating in the Indian Ocean.

He made the remarks at a press conference in Tehran while reacting to a Saturday statement by the U.S. Defense Department, in which the U.S. claimed that "the motor vessel CHEM PLUTO, a Liberia-flagged, Japanese-owned, and Netherlands-operated chemical tanker was struck by a drone fired from Iran."

"The U.S. accusations were endless," Kanaani said, rejecting them as "worthless" and saying they are aimed at diverting the global public opinion and covering up the U.S. government's full-fledged support for the Israeli attacks in Gaza and made with clear political objectives and motivations."

Kanaani said Iran has always been part of the efforts to ensure the security and safety of maritime transportation and trade through international waters and acted responsibly to that end.

According to the U.S. Defense Department's statement, the chemical tanker was struck at approximately 10 a.m. local time (0600 GMT) on Saturday in the Indian Ocean, 200 nautical miles from the coast of India.

"There were no casualties, and a fire on board the tanker has been extinguished," the statement added.

Over the past weeks, several commercial ships were reportedly targeted in the Red Sea by the Yemen-based Houthi group, who said its missile and drone strikes were launched as a gesture of solidarity with the Palestinian people.

The U.S. and British officials have accused Iran of "being behind the attacks," which was strongly rejected by Iran as "baseless."

Iranian authorities have repeatedly stressed that the resistance groups in the region did not take orders from Iran and decided and acted based on their nations' own interests.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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