14:21 GMT20 January 2021
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    The development comes shortly after the foreign ministry of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) said on Sunday that four commercial vessels had been targeted in “acts of sabotage” in Gulf waters off its coast.

    Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi has expressed concerns over a “sabotage” attack on several merchant ships off the UAE coast on Sunday, calling the incident “worrisome and dreadful”, and has urged an investigation into the matter, ISNA reported.

    READ MORE: Saudi Arabia Says Two Vessels Targeted in 'Sabotage Attack' Near UAE

    Mousavi was cited as saying that “such incidents have a negative impact on maritime transportation security”, cautioning against any “conspiracy orchestrated by ill-wishers” as well as “adventurism by foreigners” to undermine the region’s stability.

    The comments followed a reported remark by Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih, who said that two Saudi vessels were among those targeted near the UAE.

    One of the two ships in question was attacked on its way to be loaded with Saudi crude at the port of Ras Tanura for delivery to Saudi Aramco in the US, Reuters reported.

    The suspected attack didn’t lead to any casualties or oil spill, but is said to have caused significant damage to the structures of the two vessels.

    "The international community has a joint responsibility to protect the safety of maritime navigation and the security of oil tankers, to mitigate against the adverse consequences of such incidents on energy markets and the danger they pose to the global economy", al-Falih said in a statement, as quoted by Reuters.

    As reports of the alleged sabotage attack kept flooding in, the Cooperation Council for the Arab States in the Gulf (GCC) issued a statement to condemn the incident:

    “It is a dangerous development and escalation that reflects the evil intentions of those who planned and carried out these operations that endanger the safety of maritime navigation in the region and threaten the lives of the ships' civilian crews", the statement read.

    On Sunday, the UAE said that four merchant vessels had been targeted in “acts of sabotage” in its territorial waters, thus brushing off previous reports by the Lebanon-based broadcaster al-Mayadeen, which said that several large blasts had occurred in the port of Fujairah. Reacting to the reports about explosions, authorities in Fujairah refuted the claims, stressing that the port was functioning as usual.

    oil, act, oil tankers, ships, freedom of navigation, vessels, navigation, sabotage, conspiracy, foreigners, warning, crude, attack, damage, UAE, Iran, Saudi Arabia
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