Saturday, 17 August, 2019

Iran not looking for war, says commander of country's armed forces

FILE- MH-60S helicopter hovers in the air with an oil tanker in the background as the USS John C. Stennis makes its way to the Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz Dec. 21 2018 Oil tanker seized off Gibraltar not destined for Syria, says Iran
Patty Aguilar | 11 July, 2019, 04:55

US President Donald Trump responded with a warning that Iran "be careful," while European powers condemned Tehran's decision.

Iran's foreign minister Javad Zarif has issued a scathing takedown of the United Kingdom after that country's seizure of an oil supertanker carrying Iranian crude off the coast of Gibraltar last week. "We consider this an act of piracy". The orders to seize the vessel were made by Fabian Picardo, Chief Minister of HM Government of Gibraltar, who issued a statement to the effect that he had ordered seizure of the ship and its cargo.

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.

Britain should be "scared" about Tehran's possible retaliation for the capture of an Iranian supertanker by Royal Marines in Gibraltar, the Fars semi-official news agency on Saturday reported an Iranian cleric as saying.

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The ship "was navigating in worldwide waters", Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said at a press conference in Tehran.

The ship was detained 2.5 miles (four kilometers) south of Gibraltar in what it considers British waters, although Spain, which lays claim to the territory, says they are Spanish. He said that no port in Syria is capable of docking the vessel - which is 1,000ft long - and it was therefore not violating European Union sanctions, as Britain has claimed.

The website reported the British energy giant is anxious about retaliation by Tehran after the Royal Marines seized an Iranian oil tanker entering the Mediterranean off the coast of Gibraltar last week.

Iran on Friday demanded that Britain immediately release the tanker, but Gibraltar's Supreme Court ruled that the vessel can be held for 14 more days. And EU as a principle doesn't impose its sanctions on others.

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