Khamenei: Iran to Respond to Britain’s Piracy of Oil Tanker
Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei vowed to Tuesday that Tehran will respond to Britain’s impounding of an Iranian oil tanker in Gibraltar earlier this month.
“Evil Britain commits piracy and steals our ship ... and gives it a legal appearance. Iran and those who believe in our system will not leave such evil deeds unanswered,” Khamenei said in remarks broadcast on television.
The supertanker, carrying 2.1 million barrels of light crude oil, was seized with the help of British Royal Marines off Gibraltar on suspicion it was breaking European sanctions by taking oil to Syria.
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said Saturday that Britain will facilitate the release the ship if Iran can provide guarantees the vessel will not breach the sanctions.
Iran has condemned the impounding of the tanker, warning of reciprocal measures.
On Thursday, London said three Iranian vessels tried to block a British-owned tanker passing through the Strait of Hormuz, but backed off when confronted by a Royal Navy warship.
Iran denied that its vessels had done any such thing.
An escalation of tensions between Western states and Iran is not in anybody’s interest, British Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman said on Tuesday.
“We have been consistent: Escalation in the Gulf is not in anyone’s interests and we have repeatedly stressed that to the Iranians,” the spokesman said.