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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran calls UK to avoid escalating tension over tankers

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

London, July 21, IRNA -- Iran's Ambassador to London Hamid Baeidinejad said on Sunday that "UK government should have control over political forces at home who mind to escalate tension between Iran and the UK over the ships issue."

Baeidinejad made the remarks following heightened tensions between Iran and the UK after the seizure of a British-flagged tanker in the Persian Gulf by the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC).

IRGC says the seizure of Stena Impero tanker was made upon a request by Hormuzgan Ports and Maritime Organization after what Iran blamed the tanker for violating international maritime rules.

A senior Iranian Ports and Maritime Department official said on Saturday that the UK oil tanker was seized for violation of the International Law of the Sea and ignoring the principle of passage without causing damage to the environment.

"The British vessel hit a fishing trawler, which needs to be investigated," said the Director-General of the Ports and Maritime Department of Hormuzgan province Allahmorad Afifipour.

Grace 1, a supertanker carrying Iranian oil, was seized earlier this month by British Royal Marines off the coast of the British Mediterranean territory of Gibraltar on suspicion of violating sanctions against Syria.

The seizure of tanker carrying Iranian oil drew strong reaction from the Iranian officials.

Writing on his official Twitter account, Baeidinejad said that it is a sensitive time in the region. He however noted that Iran is firm and ready for different scenarios.

"Unlike the piracy in the Strait of Gibraltar, Our action in the Persian Gulf is to uphold international maritime rule," Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said.

He said that UK must cease being an accessory to US' economic terrorism.


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