IRAN has today branded the UK "economic terrorists" and taunted the Royal Navy with pictures of one of its seized oil tankers. Tehran's foreign minister accused Britain of being an "accessory to the economic terrorism of the US" as tensions escalated. Photos from last week showed HMS Montrose intercepting Iranian patrol boats surrounding the UK-flagged tanker British Heritage The UK has warned of "serious consequences" after Iran last night sparked a new Gulf crisis by seizing two British oil tankers
The HMS Montrose was dispatched while the Stena Impero was in Omani waters but the warship arrived after the tanker had entered the Strait of Hormuz. A
And Javad Zarif, Iran's foreign minister, stepped up the war of words with Britain, tweeting: "Unlike the piracy in the Strait of Gibraltar, our action in the Persian Gulf is to uphold international maritime rules. "As I said in NY, it is IRAN that guarantees the security of the Persian Gulf & the Strait of Hormuz. "UK must cease being an accessory to #EconomicTerrorism of the US." A senior Iranian diplomat has been summoned to the Foreign Office following the seizure of the tanker, while
The Type 45 Destroyer. It is called a destroyer for good reason. With state of the art advanced air detection systems and automated, fire and forget missiles, it can defend against
It comes two weeks after Royal Marines seized Iran's Grace 1 tanker off Gibraltar - prompting Tehran to threaten "retaliation". The ship appeared to be in violation of EU sanctions on exporting oil to Syria but Iran called it an act of piracy. The Iran Students News Agency, partially funded by the country's government, has also taunted the UK today by releasing pictures of the Stena Impero docked in Bandar Abbas, southern Iran. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who attended an emergency Cobra meeting, said there would be "serious consequences" and pledged a robust response.
But he added: "We're not looking at military options, we're looking at a diplomatic way to resolve the situation, but we are very clear that it must be resolved."
President Donald Trump last night called Iran "nothing but trouble", adding: "It goes to show I was right about Iran." Yesterday the British-flagged Stena Impero, which was bounded for Saudi Arabia from the UAE, suddenly changed course and was diverted towards the island of Qeshm, where Iran's Revolutionary Guard has a large base. Iran claimed the ship had "failed to respect international maritime rules" by switching off its tracker and heading the wrong way in a shipping lane. Iran's state-run IRNA news agency since claimed the country's seizure of British-flagged oil tanker was due to a collision with an Iranian fishing boat.
The report said the British tanker caused damage to the fishing boat, then did not respond to calls from the smaller craft. Sweden's Stena Bulk, the owner of the Stena Impero, said the Revolutionary Guard - classed as a terror group by the US - used small craft and a helicopter. Erik
"We are in close contact with both the UK and Swedish government authorities to resolve this situation and we are liaising closely with our seafarers' families." The Liberian-flagged by British-owned Mesdar was also diverted towards the mainland about 40 minutes later. It was said to have been stormed by gunmen but later released. Neither of the two ships had any British crew on board.
Housing Secretary James Brokenshire said the seizure of the tanker was "completely intolerable" and said the Government was seeking to establish diplomatic connections with Tehran.
He told Today: "The actions of the Iranians is completely unacceptable. It is so important that we maintain this free navigation through the Gulf and to seize a vessel in this way is just completely intolerable." UK vessels have been advised to "stay out of the area" of the Strait of Hormuz for an "interim period", a government spokesman said.
- June 13: Two US oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz were attacked in an assault that left one ablaze and adrift, with 44 sailors evacuated.
- July 4: Royal Marines off the coast of Gibraltar seize the supertanker Grace 1 suspected of carrying Iranian oil to Syria.
- July 10: HMS Montrose trains its guns on Iran gunboats trying to hijack a British tanker, the BP-owned Heritage.
- July 16: Iran's Ayatollah Khamenei called the seizure of the Grace 1 tanker "piracy" and vowed to retaliate, but Gibraltar is still holding it.
- July 17: Iran seized a Panama-flagged oil tanker from the United Arab Emirates as it
travelledthrough the Strait of Hormuz.
- July 18: President Donald Trump reveals the US Navy shot down an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz after warnings were ignored.
- July 19: Two British oil tankers are boarded by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard in the Strait. One, the Stena Impero, is 'confiscated' with 23 crew on board.
The incident follows on from
The ship's captain, chief officer
European allies to the US have been urged to take a tougher stance on Iran after