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BREAKING: Tehran threatens to seize British oil tanker if Iranian ship not released

File photo - Former IRGC commander and head of The Expediency Discernment Council, Mohsen Rezaei.

PortandTerminal.com, July 5, 2019

An Iranian official has said a British oil tanker should be seized if a detained Iranian ship is not released.

TEHRAN – A senior commander in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps today threatened to seize a British tanker if the UK doesn’t release the Iranian ship detained in Gibraltar on suspicion of carrying crude oil to Syria in violation of EU sanctions.

Royal Marine patrol vessel is seen beside the Grace 1 supertanker in the British territory of Gibraltar, Thursday, July 4, 2019. Authorities in Gibraltar said they intercepted Thursday an Iranian supertanker believed to be breaching European Union sanctions by carrying a shipment of Tehran’s crude oil to war-ravaged Syria. (Marcos Moreno / AP)

Iranian tanker seized by Royal Marines

Yesterday a detachment of Royal Marines and the authorities in Gibraltar seized a supertanker suspected of carrying oil to Syria in breach of European Union sanctions. The vessel is suspected to be in violation of EU sanctions against Syria.

If Britain does not release the Iranian oil tanker, it is the authorities duty to seize a British oil tanker

The Grace 1 was impounded off Gibraltar, a British territory on the southern tip of Spain, after sailing around Africa, the long route from the Middle East to the mouth of the Mediterranean.

While the European Union has banned oil shipments to war-torn Syria, a close ally of Iran, since 2011, it had never seized a tanker at sea. Unlike the United States, Europe does not have broad sanctions against Iran.

Revolutionary Guards Major General Mohsen Rezaee, seen here second from left in front saluting Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei

“If Britain does not release the Iranian oil tanker, it is the authorities duty to seize a British oil tanker,” said Revolutionary Guards Major General Mohsen Rezaee, who is also secretary of Iran’s Expediency Council, a powerful state body.

Iranian fast attack boat

“Islamic Iran in its 40-year history has never initiated hostilities in any battles but has also never hesitated in responding to bullies,” Rezaee said on his Twitter account.

Rezaee has in the past also suggested taking American servicemen hostage in the Persian Gulf and demanding money for their release.

Iran later summoned the British ambassador in Tehran to complain about what it said was a “form of piracy”.

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