Iranian media outlets quoted General Naser Shabani, a top official of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), as saying that the regime had ordered the pro-Iran Ansar Allah (Houthi) militia in Yemen to attack the two tankers, and that it had carried out those orders.
However, hours after Shabani’s comments led to controversial reactions on social media, Fars news agency deleted the Iranian General’s quote about the order to attack the Saudi tankers.
On Tuesday night, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards were also forced to deny Shabani’s statements carried earlier by Fars, saying the General’s statement was published in a distorted way.
Later, Iranian Revolutionary Guard spokesperson Sherif Ramadan confirmed that Shabani had said that Hezbollah in Lebanon and Ansar Allah in Yemen were Iran’s main pillars in the region.
However, he accused western and anti-Iranian regime media outlets and officials of seeking to hold Tehran responsible for the attacks on the oil carriers.
Ramadan also denied that Shabani holds any military rank within the IRGC.
Last week, Saudi Arabia announced that two of its Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs), operated by the Saudi shipping company, Bahri, and transiting through Bab El-Mandeb Strait, were attacked in the Red Sea by the Houthi insurgents.
One of the ships sustained minimal damage.
The attack came only few hours after Iran’s Major General Qassem Soleimani said the Red Sea was no longer safe for US vessels.