Wednesday, 23 October, 2019

UK Seizure of Iranian Tanker Sets Dangerous Precedent: Zarif

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 Iran’s defence minister says Britain’s seizure of oil tanker was threatening act
Steven Clarke | 11 July, 2019, 21:37

"Iran is neither a member of the EU nor subject to any European oil embargo".

Spanish authorities said the seizure came at the request of the US.

What's behind the seizure of an Iranian oil tanker?

Iran has continually denied the vessel was heading to its ally Syria. They now target 270 people and 70 entities.

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.

Iranian state TV said Britain's ambassador to Tehran had been summoned Monday for a third time over the seizure.

US National Security Adviser John Bolton also praised the tanker's detention. The UK Royal Marines took part in the operation. Spain does not recognise United Kingdom jurisdiction over the waters around Gibraltar.

"We're looking into how this (operation) affects our sovereignty", said Borrell, who was nominated earlier this week to become the EU's foreign policy chief. The tanker's crew were asked about the origin of the cargo and its destiniation.

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The minister said the giant tanker has a capacity of up to two million barrels of oil and that is why it was traveling through the Strait of Gibraltar rather than the Suez Canal.

An oil tanker operated by BP is reportedly sheltering inside the Persian Gulf amid fears it could be seized by Iran. On July 1, it surpassed uranium stockpile limits set by the treaty, and on Sunday said it would begin enriching uranium beyond the permitted cap "within hours". Khamenei has until now ruled out talks with the USA, saying that Washington can not be trusted. He added, however, that Tehran would not negotiate under pressure.

If Grace 1 wasn't going to Syria, its presence in the Mediterranean Sea would point toward a destination either in Southern Europe or North Africa.

Iran, which has provided vital military support to Assad, extended a $3 billion credit line for oil supplies beginning in 2013 but the Iranian aid dwindled as Washington restored tough sanctions.

Frictions between the USA and Iran have mounted in the wake of Washington's unilateral decision a year ago to abandon a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and hit Tehran's crucial oil exports and financial transactions with biting sanctions.

Fabian Picardo, Chief Minister of Gibraltar, which has in the past been a transit port for energy shipments without known buyers, said he has informed the European Union about developments.

On Sunday, senior Iranian officials declared that the country would enrich uranium beyond the 3.67 percent purity level set by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the 2015 pact that saw worldwide sanctions lifted in return for Iran limiting parts of its nuclear program.

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