Published: Thu, July 11, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Iranian boats attempted to seize British tanker

Iranian boats attempted to seize British tanker

Tehran said Wednesday that Britain would face "repercussions" over the seizure of an Iranian oil tanker after denying earlier in the week that the ship detained in Gibraltar was carrying crude to Syria, which would put it in violation of European Union sanctions.

The Iranian tanker Grace 1 was stopped by Gibraltar authorities with the assistance of Royal Marines on suspicion of carrying around two million barrels of oil to a refinery in Syria, which is under European Union sanctions. In the deal with world powers negotiated by the Obama administration, Iran had agreed to curb its nuclear activities in return for sanctions relief. The U.S. has sent thousands of troops, an aircraft carrier, nuclear-capable B-52 bombers and advanced fighter jets to the Middle East, and fears are growing of a wider conflict after mysterious oil tanker attacks near the Strait of Hormuz blamed on Iran, attacks by Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen on Saudi Arabia, and Iran's downing of a U.S. military drone. You should instead allow navigation to be safe'.

Iran President Hassan Rouhani said the United Kingdom will face "consequences" for its seizure of an Iranian supertanker off Gibraltar last week.

Rouhani called the seizure "mean and wrong" during a Cabinet meeting, IRNA reported.


A diplomatic adviser to French President Emmanuel Macron held talks in Tehran Wednesday aimed at saving the 2015 deal. In recent weeks, Iran has begun to openly breach limits on uranium enrichment set by the deal in order to pressure European signatories to salvage it.

The territory's government said in a statement Monday that the tanker was "well inside" British Gibraltar Territorial Waters when it was boarded, having "previously exited the worldwide waters of the Straits of Gibraltar". But a spokesman for Iran's foreign ministry has told reporters the incident was a case of "piracy" and denied that the 330-metre tanker was taking crude to Syria.

The tanker had to be checked on by United Kingdom officials over the weekend as she stopped close to Iranian waters.

On Friday, an Iranian general warned the country could seize a British ship in retaliation.

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