Published: Tue, August 06, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

United Kingdom to join US-led maritime security mission in Gulf

United Kingdom to join US-led maritime security mission in Gulf

"I'm glad to say that Zarif himself is a media [outlet], a producer of content and a message transfer tool", Rabiei said on Monday in an opening to Zarif's press conference ahead of Journalist Day.

"The third step in reducing commitments to [the nuclear deal] will be implemented in the current situation", Zarif told ICANA, an official Iranian news agency.

State media reported that the Revolutionary Guard seized an Iraqi oil tanker, which it accused of smuggling fuel.

Iran recently began openly breaching limits set by the nuclear agreement, saying it can not abide by the deal unless European signatories provide some kind of economic relief.

The president also reminded the U.S. that the ministry of foreign affairs of a country is the only channel for any negotiation with that government.

Tensions in the Persian Gulf have escalated sharply in recent months, with Tehran seizing three tankers, the United Kingdom detaining an Iranian vessel off Gibraltar, and mysterious attacks on other oil tankers.

Tehran has said repeatedly that it would breach the 2015 deal to curb its nuclear activities unless the other signatories find ways to shield its economy from USA sanctions.

On July 4, the British Royal Navy patrol vessel guards stopped the Iranian tanker on suspicion of carrying oil to Syria, a country subject to European Union sanctions.

Wendy Sherman, the lead U.S. negotiator for the JCPOA who also served as undersecretary of state under former President Barack Obama, said the move against Zarif was connected to the sanctions waivers.

Last year Trump pulled the USA out of an global accord created to curb Iran's nuclear program, and has reimposed sanctions on Iran - and even slapped them on Zarif this week - in an effort to force it to renegotiate the agreement.

"US has lost all wars it had engaged in throughout 70 years except for its invasion of Grenada", the top Iranian diplomat said, stressing: "Era of the "greatest" and "hegemonic" power is over".

Zarif claimed he was hit with sanctions because he refused an offer to engage in backdoor negotiations.

The island sits in the Persian Gulf between Saudi Arabia and Iran, north of the Strait of Hormuz.

Mr Zarif said: "Britain has been complicit in the U.S. economic terrorism against Iran".

Zarif called the United Kingdom seizure "piracy" and said the Gulf's security was Iran's responsibility.

It was the Revolutionary Guard's third seizure of a vessel in latest weeks and the most recent present of energy by the paramilitary drive amid the spike in tensions.

Also, Iran recently began surpassing uranium enrichment limits set in the 2015 nuclear deal, but says these moves can be reversed if given enough economic incentives to offset US sanctions.

The U.K. showed it was "complicit in USA economic terrorism", Zarif said.

On Wednesday, the US Treasury Department said it was imposing sanctions on Zarif for acting on behalf of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Hosseini Khamenei - who is also subject to recently imposed US sanctions.

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