A private security firm has released an audio tape of Iran’s seizure of a British-flagged oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz. The Stena Impero tanker was seized on Friday.
While the British Government discusses its next move – Iran holds the tankers 23-member crew and an Iranian flag flies over its bow.
CGTN’s Natalie Powell reports.
The UK has described it as a hostile act, while Tehran said it had seized the tanker because it had been involved in an accident with an Iranian fishing vessel.
A radio recording moments before the seizure has been released. The Iranian armed forces said it wants to inspect the oil tanker.
IRANIAN PATROL BOAT SPEAKER:” if you obey you will be safe, alter your course to 360 degrees immediately, over.”
The UK warship -the HMS Montrose – was too far away to stop the seizure, but warned the Iranian patrol boat that its attempts to impede passage were in violation of international law.
HMS MONTROSE SPEAKER: “Sepah Navy patrol boat, this is British warship foxtrot 2-3-6. Sir, your request that you are transmitting to the Stena Impero… you must not impair, impede, obstruct or hamper the passage of the MV Stena Impero… Please confirm that you are not intending to violate international law by unlawfully attempting to board the MV Stena.”
The confrontation comes just two weeks after Britain seized an Iranian tanker off the coast of Gibraltar, suspecting it of carrying oil to Syria, which is in violation of EU sanctions.
On Monday, the UK government will discuss its response to Iran, following this latest incident and says unspecified measures will be presented to Parliament.
Iran’s ambassador to the UK meanwhile has warned the British government against escalating tensions.
And Iran’s foreign minister, took to Twitter, blaming the U.S. for the UK’s involvement and saying only prudence and foresight would reduce tensions between Iran and Britain.
This latest incident now puts Iran at the top of the UK’s foreign policy agenda.
And with a new British prime minister being announced this week – how to deal with Iran, will no doubt be one of the first issues the leader will have to tackle.