Iranian Foreign Ministry slams tanker seizure in Gibraltar as piracy

Iran’s defence minister says Britain’s seizure of oil tanker was threatening act

UK's unlawful seizure of a tanker with Iranian oil on behalf of #B_Team is piracy, pure and simple.

Britain's detention of an Iranian tanker last week was a threatening and incorrect action, Iran's Defence Minister Amir Hatami said on Monday in a speech broadcast live on state television.

"Despite what the government of England is claiming, the target and destination of this tanker wasn't Syria", Araghchi said.

Tehran's foreign ministry said the arrest of Grace 1 was an act of piracy and a former leader of Iran's Revolutionary Guard said on Twitter the Islamic Republic should take a British tanker in response.

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

Briefing reporters on Monday, Mousavi said the British Ambassador to Tehran had been summoned twice and there had been consultations with European diplomats regarding the issue.

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Iran has demanded that the United Kingdom release the tanker immediately, with a senior commander in Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard saying on Friday it was Tehran's "duty" to act alike and seize a British oil tanker if its vessel was not released immediately.

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. One refers to European Union sanctions against Syria, but Iran is not a member of EU.

The threats, made by Tehran's nuclear agency spokesman, would go far beyond the small steps Iran has taken in the past week to nudge stocks of fissile material just beyond limits set out in the pact.

"This move is against worldwide regulations and a kind of maritime piracy", he said during a ceremony at Bandar Abbas port in southern Iran.

On Monday Iran threatened to restart deactivated centrifuges and ramp up enrichment of uranium to 20 per cent as its next potential big move away from a 2015 nuclear agreement that the USA abandoned previous year.

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