Oil tanker (Archive)
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Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Nasser Kanaani on Monday rejected claims that Iran was involved in recent attacks on Israeli-linked vessels in the Red Sea, the Xinhua news agency reports.

Kanaani said such incidents "have no relation to the Islamic Republic of Iran," and added that Yemen's Houthis had claimed responsibility for the seizure of the first Israeli ship on November 19.

He was referring to last week’s seizure by Houthi rebels of an of the Galaxy Leader, a British-owned cargo ship that was managed by a Japanese company and manned by an international crew but assumed to be linked to Israel.

On Sunday, another vessel, the Liberian-flagged Central Park, was intercepted by unknown attackers before being released under the help of the US Navy.

The Central Park is managed and owned by Zodiac Maritime, a company owned by Israeli shipping magnate Eyal Ofir.

Despite Kanaani’s claims otherwise, the Iranian support for the Houthis is well-known.

It has long been believed that Iran is planning to use the Houthis to take over Yemen and seize the key strategic port of Aden, which controls the entrance to the Red Sea and ultimately to Eilat.

Iran denies it is backing the Houthis and has also denied Saudi Arabian accusations that Tehran provided the Houthi rebels in Yemen with ballistic capabilities.