Aug 6, 2021 - World

G7 countries condemn Iran over oil tanker attack

Iran's new president at swearing in

Iran's newly elected President Ebrahim Raisi speaks at his swearing-in ceremony on Aug. 5. Photo: Atta Kenare/AFP via Getty Images

In a joint statement on Friday, the foreign ministers of the G7 member states condemned the attack on the Mercer Street oil tanker last week and blamed Iran for orchestrating it.

Why it matters: The joint statement is a diplomatic achievement for the U.S., the U.K. and Israel, who in recent days have sought to build as wide a coalition as possible to condemn Iran and increase the pressure on the new Iranian government.

Driving the news: The statement was signed by the foreign ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.K., and the U.S. and the high representative of the European Union.

  • The statement came as the UN Security Council convened for a closed session in which members are expected to discuss the Iranian attack on the oil tanker, which killed one British national and one Romanian national.
  • Hours after the statement, U.S. Central Command published the conclusions of its investigation into the Mercer attack, including photos of the remains of drones that it said were used. CENTCOM said in a statement that the investigation concluded the drones were Iranian-made.

Behind the scenes: The G7 statement was ready for several days, but the U.S. and the U.K. faced difficulty in getting Japan to sign off.

  • Western diplomats told me that although the tanker was owned by a Japanese company, the Japanese government was hesitant to attribute the attack in fear of Iranian retaliation.
  • After several days of diplomatic consultations, the Japanese agreed. Secretary of State Blinken spoke to his Japanese counterpart shortly before the statement was published.

What they're saying: "This was a deliberate and targeted attack, and a clear violation of international law. All available evidence clearly points to Iran. There is no justification for this attack," the statement said.

  • The G7 members also stressed that vessels must be allowed to navigate freely and said they will continue to protect all shipping "so that it is able to operate freely and without being threatened by irresponsible and violent acts."
  • "Iran’s behaviour, 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 UN Security Council resolutions," the statement said.
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