Raisi demands immediate release of Iranian oil tanker

July 8, 2019

TEHRAN – Iran’s Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raisi has demanded an immediate release of an Iranian oil tanker seized by the British government, Fars reported.

“It seems that the British and Europeans are well aware of the Islamic Republic’s reach and potential, and accordingly, it is to their own benefit that they immediately release this oil tanker, otherwise they should await the ramifications of their action,” Raisi said on Monday.

He also censured the West for turning a blind eye to Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group’s capturing and smuggling of the Syrian and Iraqi oil using the same waterways.

“But today, Britain seizes the Islamic Republic’s oil tanker as it travels in Gibraltar while adhering to all international laws,” he added.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi also slammed the seizure as an “act of piracy”, saying Tehran strongly rejects such actions which lead to increasing tensions in the region.

“We demand that the British government immediately end this illegal seizure,” Mousavi said at a press conference in Tehran on Monday.

“We reject this act of piracy that escalates tensions and we have given them the necessary warnings,” he added.

He also pointed out that the oil tanker did not enter territorial waters of any state. 

Mousavi stressed that Iran was continuing to take actions aimed at the release of the ship and was in constant contact with European diplomats.

The British Royal Marines seized an Iranian oil tanker in Gibraltar on Thursday for trying to take oil to Syria allegedly in violation of EU sanctions. Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi on Sunday dismissed reports that the supertanker was carrying oil to Syria. Araqchi said the port mentioned is not capable of receiving such a tanker. 

The Iranian Foreign Ministry has summoned Britain’s ambassador to Tehran for the seizure three times since Thursday.

Meanwhile, Secretary of the Expediency Council (EC) has said Iran should seize a British oil tanker if London doesn’t release the Iranian tanker which was illegally seized by its forces.

“The Islamic Revolution has never been an initiator of tension during its 40-year-old history, however, it has not hesitated to respond to bullies and thugs,” Mohsen Rezaee tweeted on Friday. 

MH/PA

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