BAGHDAD, IRAQ, JUNE 20 -- Iraq ended a long hiatus in its Persian Gulf air raids today by attacking a Liberian-registered tanker hired by Tehran to ferry Iranian oil.
Iran, in a military communique read over Tehran radio, said the tanker Tenacity was hit by an Iraqi-fired Exocet missile. The communique said the extent of injuries on board was not immediately known.
A statement from the Iraqi high command said Iraq had launched two air strikes, including a raid on "the western jetty" of Kharg Island, Iran's main oil export terminal. Iraq said all of its planes returned safely from the two attacks.
The attacks were Iraq's first since one of its planes mistakenly fired two Exocet missiles at the U.S. Navy frigate Stark on May 17, killing 37 American crew members.
Commenting on the Iraqi air strikes, Iranian Prime Minister Mir Hussein Musavi warned that "instability in the region will be worse than in past."
Possibly referring to Iraqi transiting of Kuwaiti airspace, Musavi said that "we have information confirming that Kuwait had given facilities to Iraq for carrying out the raid to provide the suitable grounds justifying the American military intervention in the region."
The raids coincided with a report from the London-based Lloyd's List Newsletter saying that the four-week-old respite in the tanker war had enabled Iran for the first time to pump out its full OPEC oil production quota of 2.3 million barrels daily.
The report said that the Iraqi campaign had previously succeeded in cutting off about one-fourth of Iran's export capacity.