Russia warns against using oil tanker incident to lay blame on Iran, escalate tensions

Sputnik – Moscow warns against hasty conclusions and attempts to blame Iran for the incident in the Gulf of Oman, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said.

“I would use this opportunity to warn against hasty conclusions, any attempts to lay the blame on those who are unwanted by a number of well-known states”, Ryabkov told reporters after a meeting of the State Duma’s International Affairs Committee, adding that Moscow believes the oil tanker incident must not be used as a pretext to escalate tensions around Iran.

The statement comes after Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has stated the reported attack on two tankers was “suspicious”, given Tokyo’s attempts to advance the peace process in the Middle East.

At the same time, the Iranian government spokesman stated that Tehran was ready for regional collaboration to assure the security of strategic waterways.

The IRNA news agency said earlier in the day that Iranian rescue teams had saved 44 people from the tankers. The rescued people, with 11 Russian nationals among them, have been taken to the Iranian port city of Jask.

Iranian and Arab media reported earlier in the day that two explosions occurred in the Gulf of Oman, with two oil tankers allegedly coming under attack.

According to media reports, the Panama-flagged vessel was carrying methanol, while another vessel, the Front Altair, is a Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker of the Frontline shipping company. The crew from the Panama-flagged vessel has been evacuated and the tanker is adrift.