There have long been tensions between Iran and Israel, with the two Middle Eastern countries in conflict with one another for years. Now renewed hostilities have been sparked recently over a tanker attack.
On July 29 a tanker operated by an Israeli-owned firm was attacked off the coast of Oman.
The suspected drone attack left two people dead, one was a British national the other a Romanian citizen.
The attack was on MV Mercer Street, a Liberian-flagged, Japanese-owned ship managed by Israeli-owned firm Zodiac Maritime.
A US Navy aircraft carrier was escorting the tanker at the time of the attack, they said early indications “clearly pointed” to a drone attack.
READ MORE: UK oil worker dead as Israeli ship attacked off coast of Oman
Israel blames Iran for the attack which the country denies, and this accusation has once again caused tensions between the two to rise.
Despite Iran’s denial of involvement both the US and the UK believe it was behind the attack.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said there was “no justification” for the attack.
He added in a statement: “Upon review of the available information, we are confident that Iran conducted this attack, which killed two innocent people, using one-way explosive UAVs.”
Similarly, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: “We believe this attack was deliberate, targeted, and a clear violation of international law by Iran”.
He added the UK was working with other countries to deliver a “concerted response” for this “unlawful and callous” attack.
Why are there tensions between Iran and Israel?
Tensions between Iran and Israel are complicated with hostility between the two countries spanning decades of on-off conflict.
There are many underlying causes behind the friction, but current tensions primarily centre around Iran’s nuclear programme.
Israel feels threatened by Iran’s nuclear programme, believing Iran isn’t being honest about its development of nuclear weapons.
Israel believes Iran is secretly working towards developing a nuclear warhead and the means to deliver it with a ballistic missile.
Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu said: “In the Middle East there is no threat that is more serious, more dangerous, more pressing than that posed by the fanatical regime in Iran.”
For a long time, Israel has been seemingly trying to sabotage Iran’s attempts to develop nuclear weapons.
There have been several incidents linked to Israel which appear to have been carried out to slow down Iran’s nuclear programme.
In 2010 a cyberattack caused substantial damage to Iran’s nuclear programme after a computer virus codenamed Stuxnet, incapacitated Iran’s centrifuges.
The cyberweapon is thought to have been developed jointly by the US and Israel though neither has openly admitted responsibility.
In November 2020 Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, whom Israel believed was the person in charge of running the covert “military” aspect of Iran’s nuclear programme, was assassinated.
Iran blamed Israel for his assassination, a claim Israel neither confirmed nor denied.