Government: Britain isolated after oil tanker confiscation

July 14, 2019 - 23:22

TEHRAN – Government spokesman Ali Rabiei said on Sunday that the British government has become isolated with its act of seizing an Iranian oil tanker.

Speaking at a press conference in Tehran, Rabiei said major European countries disagree with the British government’s move, Iran Press reported.

“Iranian officials pursue the legal actions necessary with regard to the oil tanker seized by British military forces,” he said.

He predicted that the oil tanker would be released soon, after British authorities retract their claims with regard to the ship’s destination.

The spokesman also advised Britain not to send warships to the Persian Gulf and “instead let Persian Gulf nations provide the security of this region, for this way the security of the region and waterways will be better provided.”

On July 4, British Royal Marines in Gibraltar stormed the Iran-operated supertanker Grace 1 off the coast of Gibraltar, seizing the 300,000-ton 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 has 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,” Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi told reporters on July 7.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Wednesday that the move was a violation of the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA.

“Britain’s recent action is violation of obligations done on behalf of the U.S. and has nothing to do with Syria. Seizure of this tanker is fundamental violation of the JCPOA,” Zarif stated.

Zarif had also said the seizure of the tanker constitutes a concrete example of “piracy” which has been done on behalf of the B-Team. “UK’s unlawful seizure of a tanker with Iranian oil on behalf of B-Team is piracy, pure and simple,” Zarif tweeted.

MH/PA

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