A suspected terrorist attack has led to the explosion of an Iranian oil tanker in the Red Sea on October 11, according to Iranian media. It is also reported that the explosion was caused by two missiles. The tanker which belongs to the National Iranian Oil Company caught fire after the blast at about 120km (60 miles) off the coast of the Saudi port city of Jeddah, agencies reported. According to Iranian media, the tanker suffered heavy damage and oil is spilling into the Red Sea. Experts believe it was a terrorist ask, the reports added. Yet Saudi Arabia authorities did not respond immediately to the incident.
Amid heightened tensions in the Middle East, attacks on oil infrastructures have surged in recent days in the Gulf. The incident on Friday follows USA's allegations against Iran which claims that the country had attacked oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz. Yet the accusations were denied by Iran. On September 14, there were missile attacks on the Saudi Aramco facility which halted about 5 per cent of the world's oil supply. The attack was claimed by the militant group Houthis, yet both USA and Saudi Arabia believed that the attack was funded by Iran. US-Iran relations have been constantly deteriorating since USA's withdrawal from the nuclear deal in 2018. The United States also reimposed severe sanctions on Iran's oil and banking sectors in what it calls a maximum pressure campaign following the nuclear withdrawal.
Earlier, an Iranian flagged oil tanker Adrian Darya 1 also faced a lot of controversies and had to be constantly detained in various countries. US federal court documents allege the Adrian Grace’s true owner is Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, a paramilitary organization answerable only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The US declared the Revolutionary Guard a foreign terrorist organization in April. It was the first time America named a military force of a nation as such, giving USA the legal power to issue a warrant for the vessel’s seizure. However, the regulation of the power depends on the acknowledgement of any nation.