Tuesday, July 16, 2019
facebook
World

Posted at: Jul 12, 2019, 7:32 AM; last updated: Jul 12, 2019, 7:32 AM (IST)ESCALATION IN TENSIONS

Iranian boats ‘tried to impede’ UK tanker in Gulf

Revolutionary Guards deny blocking British ship in Strait of Hormuz
Iranian boats ‘tried to impede’ UK tanker in Gulf
The British warship, HMS Montrose (pic), was ‘forced to position herself between the Iranian vessels and British Heritage. AFP file

LONDON, July 11

Three Iranian vessels tried to block a tanker passing through the Strait of Hormuz but backed off when confronted by a Royal Navy warship, the British government said on Thursday, raising the stakes in a test of nerves between Tehran and the West.

Britain urged Iran to “de-escalate the situation in the region” after the British Heritage oil tanker operated by BP was approached. The incident took place exactly a week after British Royal Marines seized an Iranian tanker, which London said was violating sanctions by bringing oil to Syria.

The 1,000-feet Grace 1 tanker, capable of carrying two million barrels of oil, was halted by police and customs in Gibraltar with the aid of a detachment of British Royal Marines.

Iran condemned the detention as an “illegal interception,” but Gibraltar officials said that the cargo was believed to be destined for Syria, which is subject to European sanctions.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned Britain on Wednesday of the “consequences” of what he described as “a foolish act”. “I point out to the British that you initiated insecurity (on the seas) and you shall grasp the consequences of it later on,” Rouhani said in comments to the cabinet broadcast by state TV.

“HMS Montrose was forced to position herself between the Iranian vessels and British Heritage and issue verbal warnings to the Iranian vessels, which then turned away,” a UK government spokesman said in a statement.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif dismissed as “worthless” the British allegation that Iran had sought to block the ship. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards denied they had impeded a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, the force’s Sepah news agency said. “There has been no confrontation in the last 24 hours with any foreign vessels, including British ones,” the Revolutionary Guards said in a statement. —  Agencies

Gibraltar cops arrest Iranian tanker’s captain, chief officer

London: The police in Gibraltar, a British Overseas Territory on the Spanish coast, on Thursday said it had arrested the master and chief officer — believed to be Indian nationals — of an Iranian oil supertanker seized by its officers last week. Both men were aboard Grace 1, which is accused of violating European Union sanctions on Syria. PTI

COMMENTS

All readers are invited to post comments responsibly. Any messages with foul language or inciting hatred will be deleted. Comments with all capital letters will also be deleted. Readers are encouraged to flag the comments they feel are inappropriate.
The views expressed in the Comments section are of the individuals writing the post. The Tribune does not endorse or support the views in these posts in any manner.
Share On