NEW: Iran strongly condemns US and British allegations

“US and British allegations of Iranian involvement in the recent attack on the Mercer Street oil tanker are unfounded and provocative, and Tehran will respond promptly and vigorously to any provocations against Iranian interests,” said a spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry.

Iran “deeply regrets” and “strongly condemns” both countries for these allegations, he added.

The Iranian spokesman stressed that Iran is a defender and supporter of the safety of navigation in the Gulf and in all international waters, and that the Islamic Republic, as a country with the largest sea border with the Gulf, is always ready to work together to ensure maritime safety with other countries in the region.

The spokesman also noted that Tehran hates the intervention of non-regional forces in the Gulf, saying that their presence is detrimental to stability and security.

In addition, he described the allegations of Iranian involvement in the attack on the Israeli ship as “childish” and accused US officials of being influenced by a powerful “Zionist” lobby.

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