Iran hints at quid pro quo for seized British ship

Tehran July 24 : Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani suggested releasing the British-flagged ship that was seized by Iran on Friday, if the UK agrees to release an Iranian oil tanker that the British Royal Navy captured off Gibraltar earlier this month.

The move could provide a chance to reduce tensions between the two countries as Boris Johnson becomes UK Prime Minister.

We do not seek the continuation of tension with some European countries,” Rouhani said in comments posted on his website.

“Should they be committed to international frameworks and give up their wrong actions, including what they did in Gibraltar, they will receive a proportional response from Iran.”

Rouhani said that while Iran does not seek a military conflict, it will not allow threats to its security in the strategic Strait of Hormuz. He described the Iranian seizure of the ship as “professional and brave.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) recently seized a British-flagged vessel in the Strait of Hormuz, claiming it had violated maritime law. The incident followed Britain’s seizure of an Iranian oil tanker off the coast of Gibraltar several weeks ago. The UK said it had been transporting oil to Syria in violation of EU sanctions.

“Iran has been, and will be, the main guardian of security and freedom of navigation in the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman during history,” said Rouhani.

Rouhani’s remarks came hours after the UK proposed an Europe-led “maritime protection mission” to ensure the safety of cargo vessels passing through the Strait of Hormuz, where Iran seized the British oil tanker Stena Impero last week.

“We believe that the issues of the region should be resolved through dialogue, negotiation and cooperation between neighbours and regional countries,” he added.

Tensions in the Persian Gulf escalated last Friday after Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps seized the Stena Impero.

While Iranian authorities said the tanker was not complying with international maritime rules, the UK described the seizure as illegal.
“The Strait of Hormuz has a very important location, it’s not to be taken as a joke and it’s no place for any country to ignore international regulations,” Hassan Rouhani said at a cabinet session on Wednesday.

He pointed out that protecting the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf lies on Iran’s shoulders mainly and “is not the others’ business.”

We will not let anyone lack in discipline in the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz, but we are not looking for military tensions.

Rouhani emphasized that the Islamic Republic does not seek a quarrel with the UK, and if the latter released the Iranian tanker in Gibraltar it will receive an equal response from Tehran.

UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said on Monday that he spoke to his counterparts in several EU countries as well as in Iran, Oman and the US and said the Department of Transport raised the security level for British-flagged shipping to Level 3, “advising against all passage in Iranian waters and, for the moment, in the entire Strait of Hormuz”.

He was also seeking the creation of the maritime protection mission to ensure free and safe navigation in the region.

“If Iran continues on this dangerous path, they must accept the price will be a larger Western military presence in the waters along their coastline, not because we wish to increase tensions but simply because freedom of navigation is a principle which Britain and its allies will always defend,” Hunt said.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Most Popular

To Top