“We are in very close contact, in coordination, with the UK, Israel, Romania and other countries. And there will be a collective response, ”Blinken told reporters during a press appearance at the State Department.
He reiterated that the United States concluded that Iran was behind the drone attack off the coast of Oman on MT Mercer Street, which is run by prominent Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer.
A British security guard and a Romanian crew member were killed.
Blinken called the incident a “direct threat to freedom of navigation and commerce,” but played down suggestions that it showed hardening under Ebrahim Raisi, an ultra-conservative who is due to be sworn in as Iranian president on Tuesday.
“We have seen a series of measures taken by Iran over many months, including against navigation, so I’m not sure this particular action is anything new or augurs anything in any way. another for the new government, ”Blinken said.
This January 2, 2016 photo shows the Liberian-flagged tanker Mercer Street off Cape Town, South Africa (Johan Victor via AP)
“But what he is saying is that Iran continues to act with enormous irresponsibility,” he added.
Earlier Monday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson issued his own condemnation of the drone attack.
“I think Iran should take the consequences of what it has done,” he told the BBC. “This was clearly an unacceptable and outrageous attack on commercial shipping… it is absolutely vital that Iran and all other countries respect the freedom of navigation around the world. “
So far, Thursday’s drone attack has been blamed on Iran by Israel, the United States, the United Kingdom and Romania.
On Monday evening, Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Israel must act immediately against Tehran following the drone strike.
“Iran, under the” executioner “Raisi, who will take office this week, will be more dangerous for the world than it has been so far, more destructive for the region than it has been. been until now, and will strive to become a threat to Israel, ”said Gantz, referring to the new Iranian president, accused of having participated in the massacres of prisoners towards the end of the 1980-1988 war between ‘Iran and Iraq.
The Mercer Street is a Japanese oil tanker flying the Liberian flag and with a foreign crew. Its only ties to Israel are that it is managed by Zodiac Maritime, a London-based company owned by Ofer.
Yet Israel believes that this is precisely why it was hit and views the attack as an attack aimed at its interests.
The recent attack marked the first known deadly attack after years of attacks on commercial shipping in the region linked to tensions between Israel and Iran over the tattered nuclear deal.