Published: Sun, July 07, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Top Iranian commander threatens to seize British oil tanker

Top Iranian commander threatens to seize British oil tanker

Since the sanctions were reintroduced, Iran has since been selling increased volumes of oil at below market rates in countries including Brazil, China and India, Reuters reported in June.

Iran should consider seizing a British oil tanker in response to authorities detaining an Iranian oil tanker off the coast of Gibraltar, a former leader of the Islamic Republic's powerful Revolutionary Guard said Friday.

Spain's caretaker foreign minister, Josep Borrell, said the tanker was stopped by British authorities after a request from the United States.

"If Britain does not release the Iranian oil tanker, it is the authorities' duty to seize a British oil tanker", said Mohsen Rezai, a Guards commander, said on Twitter.

The confrontation has taken on a military dimension in recent weeks, with Washington accusing Iran of attacking ships in the Gulf and Iran shooting down a US drone.

The timing for the interdiction of the Grace 1 was politically sensitive as tensions between the USA and Iran grow over the unraveling of a 2015 nuclear deal with President Donald Trump's withdrawal a year ago.

The attacks have raised fears of a broader confrontation in the region where the United States has boosted its military presence over perceived Iranian threats.

White House National Security Adviser John Bolton said the seizure was "excellent news".

The Chief Minister also gave a Direction requiring the Captain of the Port, assisted by the Royal Gibraltar Police and Customs to take control of the Grace 1.

Abbas Moussavi, a spokesman, called the move "destructive" and said it could increase tensions in the Persian Gulf, where six oil tankers have suffered attacks that Britain and the U.S. have blamed on Iran.

Iran is about to break the terms of its nuclear deal for a second time by announcing plans to enrich uranium beyond the levels allowed under the terms of its 2015 nuclear deal.

"That refinery is the property of an entity that is subject to European Union sanctions against Syria".

He had been summoned to the foreign ministry in a formal protest at the tanker's seizure.

British Royal Marines supported the authorities in Gibraltar in taking the vessel amid evidence that it was trying to circumvent the European Union sanctions on the Syrian regime.

A senior foreign ministry official "described the United Kingdom move as unacceptable" in a meeting with British ambassador Rob Macaire.

Grace 1 is now anchored off the coast of Gibraltar, a British overseas territory on the edge of southern Spain.

The UKMTO, which coordinates shipping in the Gulf, had been in contact with the tanker, the official said.

"This was done for political effect", he said.

"The recent developments have no connection to safeguards related issues and the mandate of the Board of Governors", the Iranian mission said in a statement.

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