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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 22 August 2018

Iran denies news report about complicity in Saudi oil tanker attack

Two tankers were hit by Houthi rebels in June 

Gen Qassem Soleimani, center, who heads the elite Quds Force of Iran's Revolutionary Guard attends a graduation ceremony of a group of the guard's officers in Tehran, Iran. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)
Gen Qassem Soleimani, center, who heads the elite Quds Force of Iran's Revolutionary Guard attends a graduation ceremony of a group of the guard's officers in Tehran, Iran. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have denied accusations that Tehran was behind a Houthi rebel attack on two Saudi oil tankers in June.

Al Arabiya news agency cited the article published by Iran's Fars news agency, which had quoted former Guards general Nasser Shabani as saying: "We asked the Yemenis to attack the two Saudi oil tankers, so they did it."

The original quotes, according to Fars, said: "Media outlets induced an image as if we had asked the Yemenis to strike two Saudi warships and they did that".

However, the retired general went on to refer to the Houthis, and other Iran operatives in the region, adding: "The spiritual children of the revolution in the region have grown their capabilities to the levels that they can plan such operations."

Fars later took down the article and issued a statement on Wednesday saying the commander had been misquoted. The news agency issued a correction, republished the article including the full quote and issued an apology over the statements.

General Shabani also said that the Houthis in Yemen and Lebanese Hezbollah militias "represented Iran's depth in the region".

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Read more:

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Guards spokesman General Ramezan Sharif said that General Shabani is a retired officer and served in the military during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.

The United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in June that parts of the missiles fired at Saudi Arabia came from Iran. Saudi Arabia has been subject to dozens of ballistic missiles launched by the Houthis at residential cities in the kingdom.

Saudi Arabia has resumed shipping in the Bab Al Mandeb days after they had halted their maritime activity there.

Last month, Saudi Arabia submitted a memorandum of protests to the UN against repeated infringements and violations of Iranian boats and vessels in restricted areas of the Arabian Gulf.

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