Iran on Saturday vowed not to let an attack on one of its oil tankers off the coast of Saudi Arabia to go unanswered. Suspected missile strikes hit an Iranian oil tanker near the Saudi coast on Friday, its owner said, the first Iranian vessel targeted since a spate of attacks in the Gulf Washington blamed on Tehran. “Maritime piracy and wickedness in international waterways... will not be left unanswered,” Ali Shamkhani, secretary of the Supreme National Security Council said.
“By reviewing the available video and gathered intelligence evidence, the primary clues to the dangerous adventure of attacking the Iranian oil tanker in the Red Sea have been uncovered,” he added.
Shamkhani warned of “disturbing risks” for the global economy as a result of insecurity in international waterways.
The National Iranian Tanker Company, which owns the ship, said the hull of the Sabiti was hit by two separate explosions off the Saudi coast, saying they were "probably caused by missile strikes".
The news sent Brent surging 2.3 per cent to USD 60.46, while West Texas Intermediate jumped 2.1 per cent to USD 54.69. Prices had already been rising on growing hopes for a breakthrough in the China-US trade talks.
The blasts come just weeks after two of Saudi Arabia's biggest oil installations were hit, wiping out five percent of global production.
The National Iranian Tanker Company said the hull of the vessel was hit by two separate explosions about 100 kilometres (60 miles) off the Saudi coast.
In a statement, Iran's government spokesman Ali Rabiei called Friday's attack "cowardly" and said Tehran would give a "proportionate response" following investigations.
"The question now is, those who accused Iran of disrupting free maritime transport in the Persian Gulf and the attack on Aramco installations with no proof, are they ready to once again defend the principles of free maritime transportation in international waters and condemn such an attack on an Iranian ship?" he said.