Britain rejects idea of tanker swap with Iran

Tensions have spiked between Iran and Britain since after Iranian commandos seized a British-flagged tanker earlier this month.
Tensions have spiked between Iran and Britain since after Iranian commandos seized a British-flagged tanker earlier this month.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

LONDON/GENEVA (REUTERS) - Britain on Monday (July 29) rejected the idea that it could release a Iranian tanker in exchange for a British-flagged vessel seized by the Islamic Republic in the Gulf.

Tensions have spiked between Iran and Britain since Iranian commandos seized a British-flagged tanker earlier this month.

That came after British forces captured an Iranian oil tanker near Gibraltar, accused of violating sanctions on Syria.

"There is no quid pro quo," Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told BBC Radio.

"This is not about some kind of barter. This is about the international law and the rules of the international legal system being upheld and that is what we will insist on."

Speaking to Sky News, Mr Raab added: “If the Iranians want to come of the dark and be accepted as a responsible member of the intentional community, they need to adhere to rules-based system of the international community.”

“You cannot go about detaining unlawfully foreign vessels.”

 
 

Meanwhile, Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards published footage on Monday purportedly showing the Guards warning off a British warship during their July 19 seizure of a British-flagged oil tanker near the Strait of Hormuz, according to the Tasnim news agency.

“You are required not to interfere in these issues,” the Guards navy representative says in the recording published by Tasnim.

“This British warship F236. I am in the vicinity of an internationally recognised strait with a merchant vessel in my vicinity conducting transit passage,” a voice with a British accent replies.

“Don’t put your life danger,” the Guards navy representative says.

The video also contains an exchange between the Guards and the same British warship during a stand-off in mid-July involving the British Heritage oil tanker, according to Tasnim.

Three Iranian vessels attempted to block the passage of a ship, the British Heritage, through the Strait of Hormuz, but withdrew after warnings from a British warship, the British government said on July 11.

Britain last week started sending a warship to accompany all British-flagged vessels through the Strait of Hormuz, a change in policy announced on Thursday after the government previously said it did not have resources to do so.