Iran's defence minister says tanker detention by UK was threatening act; army chief says Teheran not looking for war

Iran demanded that Britain immediately release the oil tanker it had detained in Gibraltar, and said that it was a threatening and incorrect act.
Iran demanded that Britain immediately release the oil tanker it had detained in Gibraltar, and said that it was a threatening and incorrect act.PHOTO: AFP

GENEVA (REUTERS) - Britain's detention of an Iranian tanker last week was a threatening and incorrect action, Iran's Defence Minister Amir Hatami said on Monday (July 8) in a speech broadcast live on state television.

Meanwhile, Iranian army chief Major General Abdolrahim Mousavi said Iran is not looking for war with any country, according to the semi-official Mehr news agency.

Royal Marines seized the tanker off the coast of Gibraltar last Thursday for trying to take oil to Syria, in violation of European Union sanctions, a dramatic intervention that sparked Teheran's fury and could escalate its confrontation with the West.

Gibraltar received permission from its supreme court to hold the tanker for 14 days, its government said last Friday, the day an Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander threatened to seize a British ship in retaliation.

Separately, Mr Hatami said Iran's downing of an unmanned American aircraft last month sent a message that the Islamic Republic would defend its borders. Washington said the drone was shot down over international waters.