White House: Iran implicated in drone attack on Eastern Pacific tanker

Written by Nick Blenkey
White House briefed on port on Gaza coast

Both the White House and U.S. Central Command today released statements implicating Iran in what it now seems was a drone attack on a products tanker managed by Idan Ofer’s Eastern Pacific Shipping.

The White House released the following statement from National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the November 15 attack against a commercial tanker, the MV Pacific Zircon, that was transiting in international waters off the coast of Oman. Upon review of the available information, we are confident that Iran likely conducted this attack using a UAV, a lethal capability it is increasingly employing directly and via its proxies throughout the Middle East and proliferating to Russia for use in Ukraine. There is no justification for this attack, which is the latest in a pattern of such actions and broader destabilizing activities. This action further threatens freedom of navigation through this crucial waterway, international shipping and commerce, and the lives of those on the vessels involved. As President Biden emphasized during his visit to the Middle East region, the United States is committed to supporting the free flow of commerce through its vital waterways. The British Royal Navy was the first to respond, and we express appreciation for the multilateral coordination led by the U.K. We will work with partners and allies, including as part of the International Maritime Security Construct, to hold Iran accountable and respond through appropriate means.”

More specifics of the drone attack were given by General Michael “Erik” Kurilla, commander of U.S. Central Command, who said that examination of debris found on the tanker showed that the hit was made by a Shahed-series one-way attack drone.

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