Britain and the United States on Sunday said they believed Iran carried out an attack on an Israeli-managed petroleum product tanker off the coast of Oman on July 29 that killed a Briton and a Romanian.
"The UK condemns the unlawful and callous attack committed on a merchant vessel off the coast of Oman, which killed a British and a Romanian National," British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said.
"We believe this attack was deliberate, targeted, and a clear violation of international law by Iran."
He said British assessments had concluded it was "highly likely" that Iran attacked the tanker using one or more drones.
"The UK is working with our international partners on a concerted response to this unacceptable attack," he said.
In a statement, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken that Washington is "confident that Iran conducted the attack" against Israeli-owned warship Mercer Street.
"Upon review of the available information, we are confident that Iran conducted this attack, which killed two innocent people, using one-way explosive (drones), a lethal capability it is increasingly employing throughout the region," the statement said.
He added that there was "no justification for this attack, which follows a pattern of attacks and other belligerent behavior."
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Sunday accused Tehran of "trying to shirk responsibility" for the attack, blasting its "cowardly" denial of any involvement.
Iran said on Sunday it was not involved in the attack on the Mercer Street tanker that American experts said was likely carried out by a drone.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told a weekly news conference that the "Zionist regime has created insecurity, terror and violence...These accusations about Iran's involvement are condemned by Tehran."
"Such accusations are meant by Israel to divert attention from facts and are baseless," Khatibzadeh said.
Speaking during a weekly meeting of his cabinet on Sunday, Bennett said there was no doubt Iran was responsible and warned that Israel would not let the attack go unanswered.
"I declare unequivocally: Iran is the one that carried out the attack on the ship," Bennett said, adding that intelligence supports his claim.
"We, in any case, have our own way to relay the message to Iran," the prime minister said.
Bennett's comments came a day after Foreign Minister Yair Lapid also said the incident merited a harsh response.
The British and Romanian crew members were killed when the Mercer Street, a Liberian-flagged, Japanese-owned ship managed by Israeli-owned Zodiac Maritime was attacked.
UK-based Zodiac Maritime, which operates the tanker described the incident as "suspected piracy" and a source at the Oman Maritime Security Center as an accident that occurred outside Omani territorial waters.
U.S. and European sources familiar with intelligence reporting said Iran was their leading suspect for the incident.
First published: 18:53, 08.01.21