Ambassador Baeidinejad censures Jeremy Hunt’s Iran policy

July 27, 2019 - 18:13

TEHRAN – Iranian Ambassador to London Hamid Baeidinejad has criticized former British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt for increasing Tehran-London tensions, saying Hunt missed the chance to help Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe’s release.

“During Foreign Secy Hunt’s tenure, the UK’s Iran policy was an abject failure; increasing tension and culminating in confrontation in the Persian Gulf after the UK’s illegal confiscation of Iranian oil. Major efforts needed to de-escalate, and to move toward better understanding,” Baeidinejad said in a tweet 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.

Iran condemned the seizure of the tanker as “maritime piracy”, vowing to employ all its political and legal capacities to secure the release of the vessel and uphold its rights.

Iran also denied that the supertanker was carrying oil to Syria.

Last week, tensions between Tehran and London further escalated when Iranian forces impounded a British-flagged oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz for involvement in an accident with an Iranian fishing boat, after the tanker ignored distress calls.

After the incident, the British government advised UK ships “to stay out of” the Strait of Hormuz “for an interim period.”

In another tweet on Saturday, Baeidinejad said, “Mr. Hunt also wasn’t able to help Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe’s release, as he confused his role as a diplomat with that of a politician whose rhetoric is designed to satisfy the public. Had he continued the diplomacy his predecessor started, her case might’ve been resolved.”

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 38, has been imprisoned in Iran for more than three years on charges of trying to orchestrate a soft overthrow of the Islamic Republic.

Last month, her husband announced that she had begun a new hunger strike to protest against her detention.

The hunger strike was followed by demonstrators protesting outside the Iranian embassy in London while blocking the entrance to the building.

“A few demonstrators continue to block today sole entrance of Iran’s Embassy in London and prevented the diplomats to enter into the building,” Baeidinejad said in a tweet on June 16. “Saturdays and Sundays are working days in Iran and diplomatic staff arrange some parts of their work with their capital in these two days.”

MH/PA

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