Rouhani Says Britain to Face ‘Consequences’ for Impounding Iranian Tanker
President Hassan Rouhani warned Britain on Wednesday that it would face “consequences” for impounding an Iranian tanker off the coast of Gibraltar last week.
"You (Britain) are the initiator of insecurity and you will realize the consequences later," Rouhani was quoted by Tasnim as saying after a cabinet meeting.
Iran made similar threats on Tuesday.
“Capture of the Iranian oil tanker based on fabricated excuses ... will not be unanswered and when necessary Tehran will give appropriate answer,” said Iranian armed forces chief of staff, Major General Mohammad Bagheri.
Royal Marines impounded the tanker in Gibraltar on Thursday on suspicion it was carrying oil to Syria in violation of European Union sanctions. Iran denies the vessel was headed to Syria, where the regime of Bashar Assad is an ally of Tehran.
The tanker was not headed to Syria, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said on Sunday, without specifying the final destination of the vessel.
The vessel was likely carrying just over 2 million barrels of Iranian crude oil, the data firm Refinitv said. Tracking data showed it made a slow trip around the southern tip of Africa before reaching the Mediterranean, it said.
European Union sanctions against war-torn Syria have been in force since late 2011.
The 28-member bloc has imposed sanctions on Syrian officials including government ministers over their role in the "violent repression" of civilians.
The tanker's detention comes just days after Iran announced it would exceed the uranium enrichment limit set under the 2015 nuclear deal. Tehran took the action in response to Washington abandoning the deal last year and hitting Iran's crucial oil exports and financial transactions with biting sanctions.