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UK Sends Letter to UN About Its Tanker Seized by Iran, Urges Tehran to Release Vessel

Sputnik News

22:38 21.07.2019

LONDON (Sputnik) - The UK Permanent Mission to the United Nations has submitted a letter on Sunday to the UN Secretary-General and Security Council President with a "factual update" on the incident with the UK-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero seized by Iran in the Strait of Hormuz and called upon Tehran to release the vessel.

"Current tensions are extremely concerning, and our priority is to de-escalate. We do not seek confrontation with Iran. But it is unacceptable and highly escalatory to threaten shipping going about its legitimate business through internationally recognised transit corridors. The impediment to the right to transit passage and seizure of the STENA IMPERO is contrary to international law. We call on Iran to release the STENA IMPERO, and are working to resolve the situation through diplomatic means," UK Deputy Permanent Representative Jonathan Allen wrote in the letter which he called a "factual update" on the incident.

He added that the tanker was seized in the Omani territorial waters.

On Friday, Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps seized the UK oil tanker Stena Impero in the Strait of Hormuz over what it described as a breach of international maritime regulations.

The vessel with 23 crew members, including three Russian nationals, has been guided to the Bandar Abbas port. Albeit they have been out of reach for any contact, Iran claims they are safe and sound and the tanker is docked in the port. The Russian Embassy in Iran has confirmed this information after contacting the Iranian authorities.

The maritime clash comes after UK Marines helped detain an Iranian tanker off Gibraltar on 4 July on suspicion it was carrying oil to Syria in violation of EU sanctions. Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt discussed the issue earlier this week, with Mr Zarif urging London to release the tanker. He added that Tehran would continue its oil exports under any circumstances. Mr Hunt responded by saying that the Grace 1 would be released once Iran gives guarantees about its destination.


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