Britain must pay compensations for oil tanker seizure: ex-Rouhani aide

July 8, 2019 - 22:12

TEHRAN – The British government must pay compensations to Iran and others for seizing an Iranian oil tanker, says a former advisor to President Hassan Rouhani on citizenship rights.

Britain must pay compensations to Iran and relevant countries, including pick-up and destination countries, for the damage inflicted on them by delaying the oil tanker for several days, Elham Aminzadeh said in an interview with the Mehr news agency published on Monday.

“Nearly 2 million oil barrels or 300,000 tons of Iranian oil has been seized in Gibraltar,” she said.

“Iran can file a complaint through international bodies, including the United Nations, against the act,” Aminzadeh suggested.

She also argued that under international law, the British government must officially apologize to Iran.

Gibraltar police and customs agencies, aided by a detachment of British Royal Marines, boarded and impounded Iranian supertanker Grace 1 in the Strait of Gibraltar on Thursday, upon a request from the United States.

Later that day, Iran’s Foreign Ministry summoned Britain’s ambassador to the country, Rob Macaire, to express its strong protest at the move. He was told that the British Royal Marines’ move was tantamount to “maritime piracy.”

Spain, which challenges the British ownership of Gibraltar, has said the seizure was prompted by a U.S. request to Britain and appeared to have taken place in Spanish waters.

However, the British-claimed overseas territory rejected the claim on Friday, saying that Gibraltar had acted independently.

Gibraltar’s position comes as a British Foreign Office spokesman had welcomed the move on Thursday, describing it as a “firm action by the Gibraltarian authorities, acting to enforce the EU Syria Sanctions regime.”

The seizure of the Iranian tanker comes as the U.S. has pledged to reduce Iran’s oil exports to “zero” as part of the sanctions that it has reinstated after leaving a multilateral 2015 nuclear deal with Iran last year.

Tensions have further escalated between the two countries when the U.S. began to send military reinforcements and troops to the Middle East in early May, citing alleged “threats” from Iran.

Several oil tankers have also been targeted near the Persian Gulf region, with Washington and its ally Saudi Arabia quickly blaming Iran for the attacks.

Tehran has rejected any involvement, saying the incidents appear to be false flags meant to frame the Islamic Republic.