Moscow stresses that there is no alternative to establishing dialogue to settle the situation around the incident with two tankers in the Gulf of Oman and calls on all parties concerned to show restraint, the Russian foreign ministry said on Friday.
"First of all, we would like to thank the Iranian authorities for assistance in rescuing eleven Russian mariners, crewmembers of one of the tankers (Front Altair)," the ministry said. "All of them were promptly evacuated from the burning vessel and taken to the port of Jask."
"Moscow resolutely condemns the attacks whoever might be behind them," the ministry stressed. "We think it necessary to refrain from quick conclusions. It is inadmissible to place responsibility for the incident on anyone until a thorough and unbiased international investigation is over."
"We are worried over the tensions in the Gulf of Oman. We take note of deliberate efforts to whip up tensions, which are largely encouraged by the United States’ Iranophobic policy," the ministry noted. "We call on all the parties to show restraint."
The ministry once again emphasized that there is no alternative to dialogue to prevent further degradation of the situation in the Gulf regions."
Two tankers - Kokuka Courageous and Front Altair - caught fire in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday after a presumable torpedo attack. The Kokuka Courageous tanker, registered in Panama and owned by a Japanese transport company, was carrying methanol from Saudi Arabia to Singapore. The Marshall Islands-flagged Front Altair vessel, owned by Norwegian Frontline, was sailing from the United Arab Emirates to Taiwan with petrochemical feedstock. The incident is being probed into, TASS reports.
The Kokuka Courageous crew was taken onboard by the Bainbridge guided missile destroyer of the US Navy. The Front Altair crewmembers, with Russians among them, were evacuated by Iranian coastal guards and taken to the port of Jask.
The Kokuka Courageous crew is back onboard the vessel which is being tugged to the United Arab Emirates. The Front Altair is still in the Gulf.
The United States rushed to place the blame for the incident on Iran. The United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia supported the US’ position. The Iranian foreign ministry dismissed these allegations.