The United States and Israel have pointed the finger at Iran for being behind the attack on the tanker, which is managed by a prominent Israeli businessman in London.
Iran’s deputy UN Ambassador Zahra Ershadi rejected the accusations that Tehran was behind the attack and warned against any retaliation: “Iran will not hesitate to defend itself and secure its national interests.”
On Saturday, its foreign ministry called the accusations “baseless”.
“For those who are familiar with the history of the region, the design of such conspiracies at different junctures by the Israeli regime is nothing new,” foreign ministry Saeed Khatibzadeh said in a statement.
The US military, in a separate statement, said explosives experts from the Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier – which deployed to assist the Mercer Street – concluded the drone was produced in Iran.
It said the explosives experts were able to recover several pieces of a drone, including a part of the wing and internal components which it said were nearly identical to previously collected samples of Iranian attack drones.
The US military also suggested the attack may have been launched from the Iranian coast, saying the distance to the locations of the attacks “was within the range of documented Iranian one-way attack” drones.
“Some of the material was transferred to US Fifth Fleet headquarters in Manama, Bahrain and subsequently to a US national laboratory for further testing and verification,” Central Command, which oversees US forces in the region, said in the statement.
Security analysts have said the fatal attack upped the stakes in the “shadow war” against vessels linked to Iran and Israel.
On Tuesday, Iran was again blamed for an alleged hijacking of an asphalt and bitumen tanker in the Gulf of Oman, prompting more denials from the Islamic republic.
The tensions have come as hardline former judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi took over this week as Iranian president following his victory in the June elections, replacing Hassan Rouhani who was seen as a more moderate figure.