U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken vowed a joint response to Iran’s attack on the ship MT Mercer Street in the Indian Ocean that has ties to Israel.

“We are in very close contact, in coordination with the United Kingdom, Israel, Romania and other countries. And there will be a collective response,” he told reporters at the U.S. State Department on Monday.

While Blinken did call the incident a “direct threat to freedom of navigation and commerce,” he played down the suggestion that it was a new escalation ahead of the Aug. 3 swearing-in of Iran’s new president Ebrahim Raisi.

“We have seen a series of actions taken by Iran over many months, including against shipping, so I’m not sure that this particular action is anything new or augurs anything one way or another for the new government,” said Blinken.

According to the United States, the MT Mercer Street was struck by an Iranian drone, which killed a British security guard and Romanian crew member, off the coast of Oman on Thursday.

The vessel is a Japanese-owned tanker that is managed by London-based Zodiac Maritime, a company owned by Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer.


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