UK failure to release tanker won’t be left unanswered: Iranian diplomat

July 14, 2019 - 22:1

TEHRAN - Iranian Ambassador to London Hamid Baeidinejad has said that a failure by the British government to release Iran’s oil tanker and its cargo will not be “left unanswered”.

“Having miscalculated in its unlawful seizure of tanker, UK should not repeat its miscalculation. Ship did NOT violate any law or norm - but UK, through its illegal piracy, most certainly has. Failure to release the tanker and its cargo will NOT be left unanswered,” he tweeted on Saturday.

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.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry has said the seizure took place upon an order by the United States. White House national security advisor John Bolton has praised the move. 

Iran has said the act amounts to piracy.

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 Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi told IRNA in an interview published on Friday that Britain should immediately release the oil tanker.

“London’s claims about seizing Iran’s oil tanker are not credible from legal point of view and we urge the British to release this tanker as soon as possible,” he said.

He noted that the British have been influenced by the U.S. and seek to enter a “dangerous game” that has been engineered by the White House.

“We want them to release this tanker immediately because it serves the interests of all,” he added.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Wednesday that the UK action in seizing Iran’s oil tanker is 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.

Also on July 8, Zarif 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.


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