British envoy at Foreign Ministry for third time over tanker seizure

July 8, 2019

TEHRAN – British Ambassador to Tehran Robert Macaire was in Iran’s Foreign Ministry on Monday for the third time since last week over the seizure of an Iranian oil tanker.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said Macaire was not summoned but he was at the Foreign Ministry for pursing the issue of the oil tanker.

Ambassador Macaire had already been summoned to the ministry twice in four days. He was first summoned to the ministry on Thursday, the day the tanker was seized. 

On early Thursday morning, British Royal Marines in Gibraltar stormed the Iran-operated supertanker Grace 1 off the coast of Gibraltar, seizing the 300,000-tonne vessel based on the accusation that it was carrying oil to Syria in possible violation of the European Union’s sanctions on the war-torn Arab country.

Iran said the act amounts to piracy.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi on Sunday denied reports that the supertanker was carrying oil to Syria.

“Contrary to Britain’s announcement, the tanker was not bound for Syria, and the port mentioned is not capable of receiving such a tanker,” Araqchi told reporters at a news conference in Tehran.

Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami warned on Thursday that Iran cannot tolerate piracy by Britain. 

Earlier Mohsen Rezaei, a former IRGC chief and current secretary of the Expediency Council, has suggested a retaliatory measure by Iran.

NA/PA

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