Published: Thu, July 11, 2019

UK Seizure of Iranian Tanker Sets Dangerous Precedent: Zarif

UK Seizure of Iranian Tanker Sets Dangerous Precedent: Zarif

Mousavi stressed that Iran was continuing to take actions aimed at the release of the ship and was in constant contact with European diplomats.

THE detention of an Iranian oil tanker off Gibraltar was a threatening act that will not be tolerated, Iran's Defence Minister Amir Hatami was cited by Reuters as saying in a televised address. "We regard this seizure as piracy, and would not accede to it, and of course we have given the necessary warnings". "Contrary to what the British government claims, its destination was not Syria".

Araghchi said the tanker was crossing the Strait of Gibraltar because its "high capacity" meant "it was not possible for it to pass through the Suez Canal".

Expediency Discernment Council Secretary Mohsen Rezaee took it a step further when he tweeted "if the United Kingdom does not release the Iranian oil tanker, our officials are duty-bound to reciprocate and seize a British oil tanker". Gibraltar authorities have ordered the tanker to be detained for at least two weeks, citing European Union economic sanctions against Syria.

Authorities in the British territory said the tanker can be held for up to 14 days.

An Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander threatened on Friday to seize a British ship in retaliation.

The EU and others have imposed sanctions on Assad's government over its continued crackdown against civilians.

The tanker's detention comes at a particularly sensitive time as tensions between the USA and Iran grow over the unraveling of a 2015 nuclear deal, which President Donald Trump withdrew from past year.

The threats, made by Tehran's nuclear agency spokesman, would go far beyond the small steps Iran has taken in the past week to nudge stocks of fissile material just beyond limits set out in the pact. It was passing through global waters through the Strait of Gibraltar and there is no law that allows England to stop this tanker.

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