By staff and agency

Iranian diplomat: Captured British tanker unlawfully entered Hormuz Strait from exit lane

July 31, 2019 - 18:6

In an interview with Sky news on Tuesday, Iranian Ambassador to London Hamid Baeidinejad said a British-flagged oil tanker which was seized by Iran “should have been very careful not to violate any laws”.

He noted that Stena Impero had “entered the Strait of Hormuz from the exit lane, which is against the law”.

“That ship collided with a fishing boat in the area...the fishing boat was damaged and there have been injuries,” he added.

He also said, “We’re very keen to see the UK is doing all the measures necessary to release as soon as possible the Grace 1 [the tanker which was carrying Iran’s oil].”

Baeidinejad rejected claims that Grace 1 was heading for Syria.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, in a tweet on July 20, said Iran’s conduct towards the British tanker had been fully within international maritime rules. He also compared Iran’s action with a seizure of an Iranian tanker by the UK in Gibraltar.

“Unlike the piracy in the Strait of Gibraltar, our action in the Persian Gulf is to uphold int’l maritime rules. As I said in NY, it is IRAN that guarantees the security of the Persian Gulf & the Strait of Hormuz. UK must cease being an accessory to #EconomicTerrorism of the US.”

Rejecting claims that the tanker was carrying oil for Syria, Zarif has said Iran cannot reveal the destination of the tanker because of the U.S. sanctions.

Iran has called the capture of the tanker carrying the Iranian oil an act of piracy.

In the emergency meeting of the JCPOA parties in Vienna on Sunday, Iran called the British seizure of the Grace 1 a violation of the nuclear deal.

White House national security advisor John Bolton, an Iran hawk, praised the seizure.  “Excellent news: UK has detained the supertanker Grace I laden with Iranian oil bound for Syria in violation of EU sanctions,” Bolton exulted on Twitter.

In a commentary on July 20, the British newspaper Guardian said Bolton has succeeded to lure Britain into a dangerous trap to punish Iran by deceiving London to capture a tanker carrying the Iranian oil in Gibraltar, which Iran responded in kind.

The British newspaper said “Britain blindly dances to the beat of Bolton’s war drums” against Iran.

According to the Guardian, the Spanish ambassador to Tehran who was summoned over the seizure, said the Iranian tanker had been seized “following a request from the United States to the United Kingdom.” 

Following the oil tankers standoff, former British Foreign Secretary Jack wrote an article in the Daily Mail on July 20 saying that Iranians have “good cause” to be “resentful” against Britain and call Britons the “cunning, colonial fox”.

In another tweet on July 21, Zarif said only “prudence and foresight” can alleviate tensions. 

“Having failed to lure Donald Trump into War of the Century, and fearing collapse of his B-Team, Ambassador John Bolton is turning his venom against the UK in hopes of dragging it into a quagmire,” Zarif tweeted.
 
On July 16, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said, “The evil England conducts piracy and steals our ship… and give it a legal form.”

During a meeting with Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah in Tehran on Sunday, President Hassan Rouhani said that Britain will suffer harms for seizing Iran’s oil tanker.

He also said that presence of foreign forces in the region are the main cause of tension in the region.

NA/PA

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