A senior Iranian official has said that Tehran should retaliate after the Royal Marines confiscated an oil tanker. It is believed that the vessel called Grace 1 was headed for Syria, in violation of EU sanctions.
Oil supertanker Grace 1 on suspicion of being carrying Iranian crude oil to Syria is seen near Gibraltar, Spain July 4, 2019.
A commander with Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards said on Friday that Tehran should detain a British ship in response to the seizure of an Iranian oil tanker off the coast of Gibraltar.
“If Britain does not release the Iranian oil tanker, the relevant authorities will be duty-bound to take reciprocal action and seize a British oil tanker,” commander Mohsen Rezai wrote on Twitter.
The top court in the British overseas territory also ruled that it can keep the ship for a further 14 days as it interviews the mostly Indian and Pakistani crew to determine whether or not it was attempting to flout EU sanctions against bringing oil to Syria.
Meanwhile, reports in Britain indicate that Iranian ships attempted to obstruct a British-flagged commercial oil tanker as it sailed in the Persian Gulf, according to Britain’s Defense Ministry.
The Iranian vessels are suspected of belonging to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. They were forced away from the oil tanker “British Heritage” after receiving verbal warnings from a British navy vessel accompanying the commercial vessel through the Strait of Hormuz – a strategically important choke point for oil delivery.
“We are concerned by this action and continue to urge the Iranian authorities to de-escalate the situation in the region,” the British government said in a statement.
No shots were fired and the Iranian vessels heeded the “HMS Montrose”‘s warnings.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps. denied the allegations.