News that two tankers carrying “Japan-related cargo” were involved in a suspected attack broke during a high-stakes Japanese diplomatic mission to Iran.
The vessels were stricken in the Gulf of Oman, off the coast of Iran, on Thursday morning as Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was meeting Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran.
Abe, who arrived in Tehran on a visit widely viewed as an attempt to mediate US-Iran tensions, has not yet commented on the incident.
One of the tankers, Kokuka Courageous, is owned by Japan-based company Kokuka Sangyo. According to Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, both tankers were carrying “Japan-related cargo.”
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said “suspicious doesn’t begin to describe” the incident coinciding with Abe’s visit.
“We voice concern about the suspicious incidents, which happened today for the oil tankers affiliated to Japan concurrently with a meeting between the Japanese prime minister and Supreme Leader,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi said in a post on Twitter.