Britain Warns Iran Over Seizure of Oil Tanker
By R.J. Johnson - @rickerthewriter
July 20, 2019
Following Iran's seizure of a British-flagged oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday, Britain is warning Iran of "serious consequences" if it did not release the vessel.
According to a tweet from Britain's Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, he spoke with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif expressing his "extreme disappointment" that Iran had not deescalated tensions, despite assurances.
"Just spoke 2 Iranian FM Zarif & expressed extreme disappointment that having assured me last Sat Iran wanted 2 deescalate situation they have behaved in the opposite way.This has 2 be about actions not words if we are to find a way through. British shipping must & will be protected," Hunt wrote.
Just spoke 2 Iranian FM Zarif &expressed extreme disappointment that having assured me last Sat Iran wanted 2 deescalate situation they have behaved in the opposite way.This has 2 be about actions not words if we are to find a way through.British shipping must & will be protected— Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt) July 20, 2019
In an interview with British media following an emergency government meeting over the seizure, Hunt said that "we’re looking at a diplomatic way to resolve the situation, but we are very clear that it must be resolved."
On Friday, Iran's Revolutionary Guard (IRG) said they seized the oil tanker Stena Impero after "violating international regulations."
"On Friday a British tanker by the name of Stena Impero while passing through the Strait of (Hormuz) was seized by the IRGC due to violating international regulations," the IRG announced in a statement. "After it was seized it was transferred to Iranian shores to undergo legal procedure."
Twenty-three crew members were aboard the Stena Impero when it was seized, but there are no reports of injuries among the crew. Iran has not indicated what they plan to do with the vessel.
The Strait of Hormuz is a heavily traveled waterway where around a fifth of the world's oil passes through.
The seizure of the British oil tanker is the latest in a series of escalating tensions between Iran and the West. It comes one day after President Donald Trump announced the USS Boxer was forced to destroy an Iranian drone that was flying too close and had refused to disengage.