The US military on Tuesday said debris analysis has concluded that the same type of Iranian drone that Tehran has supplied to Russia for its invasion of Ukraine was used to attack a commercial tanker off the coast of Oman a week ago.
The US Navy's Bahrain-based 5th Fleet published photos and details of its investigation into the attack on the Liberian-flagged Pacific Zircon tanker, including debris from the Shahed-136 drone itself.
In a statement, the Navy said the drone ripped a 30-inch-wide (76 cm) hole into the back of the ship, and the explosive impact damaged a shipboard boiler, potable water tank and life raft.
"The Iranian attack on a commercial tanker transiting international waters was deliberate, flagrant and dangerous, endangering the lives of the ship's crew and destabilizing maritime security in the Middle East," Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, the top U.S. Navy commander in the Middle East, said in a statement.
Persian Gulf waters have in recent years seen attacks on tankers that have come at times of heightened regional tensions with Iran. In July 2021, a suspected drone attack hit a petroleum product tanker managed by an Israeli firm off Oman's coast. Iran denied accusations it was responsible.
Iran's supply of drones to Russia and popular antigovernment protests in the country have brought about more Western criticism of Tehran and have put any nuclear negotiations on the back burner for the time being.
With reporting by Reuters