Speaking after Iran’s ambassador was summoned to the Foreign Ministry, Boris Johnson said: “This was clearly an unacceptable and outrageous attack on commercial shipping.”
The ambassador was summoned this morning for a meeting with Foreign Secretary James Cleverly after the UK and US blamed Iran for the strike.
“Minister Cleverly reiterated that Iran must immediately cease actions that endanger international peace and security, and reaffirmed that ships must be allowed to navigate freely in accordance with international law,” a spokesperson said. .
The UK and US blamed Iran for the attack on the Israel-linked tanker, in which two crew members – a British national and a Romanian citizen – were killed.
the attack happened last Thursday when the tanker MV Mercer Street was off the coast of Oman in the Arabian Sea.
This is the first known fatal attack after years of assaults on commercial shipping in the region linked to tensions between Israel and Iranian.
Secretary for Foreign Affairs Dominique Raab accused Iran of carrying out a “deliberate and targeted” attack, which constituted “a flagrant violation of international law”, and pledged to work with its allies on a “concerted response”.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken also said he was considering “the next steps” with the UK and other allies, with “an appropriate response … to come”.
The meeting with Mr Cleverly follows a weekend of discussions between high-level officials on how best to respond to the incident.
The head of the British armed forces, General Sir Nick Carter, spoke with his Israeli counterpart on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the government held an emergency Cobra meeting at officials’ level over the weekend in a sign of serious attention to the tanker attack, according to Sky News.
There has not yet been a Cobra in the presence of ministers, which happens in the most serious crises.
The Mercer Street tanker is managed by London-based Zodiac Maritime, which is part of the Zodiac group of Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer.
Earlier this week, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid blamed “Iranian terrorism” for the attack.
Tehran has denied responsibility, accusing Israel of making baseless charges against Iran.
The Foreign Ministry said the drone assault followed similar attacks on three other Israel-linked ships in the region since February and there are fears that tensions could escalate in the region.
A UK source said crew members said they were targeted by “some sort of drone” in the Arabian Sea on Thursday, before communications with the ship were lost.
If a drone attack is confirmed, it would raise speculation about a possible link to a government or some sort of proxy group.
Iran in the past has been accused on several occasions of targeting tankers in the Gulf. The country was locked in a tit-for-tat contest with Israel, with both sides accusing the other of targeting ships and launching cyber attacks.