Iran's Revolutionary Guard drone commander behind ship attack

A drone is being launched during a large-scale drone combat exercise of Army of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in Semnan, Iran January 6, 2021.

Saeed Ara Jani, head of Iran's IRGC Drone Command, was behind the attack on the Israel-linked Mercer Street ship, Gantz and Lapid revealed.

Saeed Ara Jani, head of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ UAV Command, was behind the attack on the Israel-linked Mercer Street ship, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz revealed in a briefing with diplomats from UN Security Council member states on Wednesday.

“Ara Jani is the head operator of the IRGC Air Force’s UAV system, which struck the Mercer Street,” Gantz told the ambassadors. “He provides the supplies, training, plans and is responsible for many acts of terror in the region.”

Gantz pointed out that Iran is responsible for dozens of terrorist attacks in the Middle East, and operates proxies in Yemen, Iraq and other countries.

The defense minister said he would provide the participating countries with detailed intelligence on the matter.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid pointed out that Iran’s latest attacks “are on international trade routes. This is an attack on freedom of movement. This is an international crime.

“What is the international community going to do about it? Does international law still exist? Does the world have the ability and the will to enforce it?” he asked. “If the answer is yes, the world needs to act now.”

Lapid argued that if the world does not respond to the latest incidents, then there is no international community, and it will be “every man for himself.”

Israel's Ambassador to the UN and US, Gilad Erdan highlighted the role the Iranian IRGC has played "in sowing violence and destruction in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world" in a letter he wrote to the UNSC earlier this week.

The Guard Corps "is the main sponsor of terrorist groups and militias throughout the region, he explained. 

"Over time, the IRGC has developed dangerous and precise weaponry, such as attack drones and long-range missiles, which it uses against civilians and civilian objects in countries across the region, whether directly or by means of the terrorist groups the IRGC sponsors and supports," Erdan wrote.

He explained to the UNSC that past Iranian maritime attacks this year including on the Israeli-owned vessels the Helios Ray in February and the Hyperion Ray in April. The CSAV Tyndall, previously owned by an Israeli, was attacked in June.

Iran struck an oil tanker with connections to Israel near Oman on July 29, killing two crew members on board. It was the first deadly attack in the continuing maritime war-between-wars and has led Jerusalem to accuse Tehran of “sowing violence and destruction.”

The two crew members killed in the attack on the Mercer Street were the Romanian captain and a British security officer. There were no other casualties.

Though owned by a Japanese company, the Mercer Street is operated by London-based Zodiac Maritime, part of Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer’s Zodiac Group.




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