Earlier, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said that they have confiscated a UK tanker in the Strait of Hormuz.
UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said earlier that he was worried that Iran had taken a “dangerous path” after it seized a British-flagged tanker.
“Yesterday’s action in Gulf shows worrying signs Iran may be choosing a dangerous path of illegal and destabilising behaviour after Gibraltar’s LEGAL detention of oil bound for Syria,” Hunt said.
France’s Foreign Ministry has also voiced concerns over the seizure of the UK vessel, stressing that the move crumbles de-escalation efforts in the region. In a statement, the ministry expressed its full solidarity with the United Kingdom.
Germany echoed the comments, saying that the seizure was unjustifiable. A German foreign ministry spokesperson urged Tehran to immediately release the ship and its crew, stressing that further escalation of tensions would hamper the progress made towards finding a way out of the ongoing crisis.
Earlier in the day, Iran’s Fars news agency quoted an official as saying the oil tanker “Stena Impero” was in an accident with a fishing boat before being detained.
Official added that all 23 crew members on the detained tanker were now at the port of Bandar Abbas and will remain aboard the vessel until the end of the investigation.
On Friday, the Liberian-flagged oil tanker Mesdar was boarded by armed personnel but later, according to FARS News Agency, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps let the oil tanker leave, issuing it a warning regarding compliance with safe navigation practices and environmental standards.
UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt called the situation “unacceptable”, adding that he was “extremely concerned” by the acts committed by the Iranian state in the Strait of Hormuz.
In turn, US President Donald Trump said that he would talk to the UK following the confiscation of a British-flagged oil tanker.
The latest development marks an escalation in tension between UK and Iranian officials following the recent detainment of Iranian supertanker Grace 1 off the coast of Gibraltar earlier this month.
Iranian Tanker’s Detention
On 4 July, the UK Marines and Gibraltar authorities detained the supertanker Grace 1 for allegedly transporting crude oil to Syria. According to Chief Minister of Gibraltar Fabian Picardo, such measures were taken because of “information that gave the Gibraltar government reasonable grounds to assume that Grace 1 was acting in defiance of EU sanctions against Syria.”
Tehran rejected the allegations.
Following the incident, the Iranian Foreign Ministry protested the seizure of the oil tanker to UK Ambassador to Tehran Rob Macaire