Zarif says capture of British tanker should be pursued through legal procedures

July 20, 2019 - 20:5

TEHRAN – On Saturday, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt telephoned Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif about a British oil taker seized by the IRGC in Strait of Hormuz on Friday night.

On July 4, Britain captured a supertanker carrying the Iranian oil by claiming that it was transporting oil to Syria in violation of the EU sanctions.

Zarif said, “In contrast to the illegal move of Britain in seizing the tanker carrying the Iranian oil, our move was done based on the request of Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization.”

Zarif, who is attending the NAM meeting in Venezuela, added the issue of the British tanker should be investigated through legal procedures.

The two foreign ministers also insisted on the need to find solutions to the seizures and avoid tension.

According to Reuters, Hunt said he had expressed his “extreme disappointment” over Iran’s seizure of the British-flagged tanker.

“Just spoke to ... Zarif and expressed extreme disappointment that having assured me last Saturday Iran wanted to de-escalate situation, they have behaved in the opposite way,” he tweeted on Saturday.

“This has to be about actions not words if we are to find a way through,” Hunt added. “British shipping must and will be protected.”

Hunt no made mention of the tanker carrying the Iranian oil which Tehran has said is an instance of piracy.

Allah-Morad Afifipour, head of Ports and Maritime Organization in southern Hormozgan Province, said on Saturday that the British tanker had collided with a fishing boat on its route.

Following the collision, he added, those on board the fishing boat contacted the British vessel but didn't receive any response, so they informed the Hormozgan Maritime Organization according to the legal requirements.


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