Iran's Defense Minister Says Britain's Seizure of Oil Tanker Was Threatening Act

The oil supertanker Grace 1 that's on suspicion of carrying Iranian crude oil to Syria sits anchored in waters of the British overseas territory of Gibraltar historically claimed by Spain

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Monday that British seizure of an Iranian oil tanker in Gibraltar constitutes a concrete example of "piracy" which has been done on behalf of the B-Team. "We regard this seizure as piracy, and would not accede to it, and of course we have given the necessary warnings".

Tehran denies this and claims the vessel was intercepted in worldwide waters.

Royal Marines seized the tanker on Thursday for trying to take oil to Syria in violation of European Union sanctions, a dramatic intervention described as "maritime robbery" by Araghchi. 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.

Spain's acting foreign minister said the seizure of the ship Grace 1 was at the US request.

Though no longer party to the Iran Deal, the United States has still said Iran's decision to increase uranium enrichment will only lead to more American sanctions and efforts to isolate the country politically and economically.

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.

Russian Federation is also a party to the JCPOA and its ambassador to global organisations in Vienna, Mikhail Ulyanov, said in a tweet Friday that an IAEA board of governors' meeting was "not a proper place to consider" what he called "Iranian deviations from (the) JCPOA".

The following day, the government of Gibraltar said it had been granted a Supreme Court order allowing for the vessel to be held for up to 14 days. And EU as a principle doesn't impose its sanctions on others.



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