Iran news: BP oil tanker is ‘sheltering inside the Persian Gulf’ | World | News


The vessel named British Heritage was heading for Iraq’s Basrah terminal when it made an “abrupt” U-turn to return to safety on the Saudi Arabian coastline amid ongoing threats from Iran. The oil tanker run by the British energy giant is able to haul about one million barrels of oil. The move comes amid concerns it could be seized in retaliation for Britain’s capture of an Iranian tanker off Gibraltar, Bloomberg reported.

British Royal Marines boarded the ship, Grace 1, off the coast of Gibraltar on Thursday and seized it over accusations it was breaking sanctions by taking oil to Syria.

And today Iran’s armed forces chief of staff, Major General Mohammad Bagheri, warned Britain that its seizure will not be “unanswered”.

He said: ”Capture of the Iranian oil tanker based on fabricated excuses will not be unanswered and when necessary Tehran will give appropriate answer,” according to Tasnim news agency.

His remarks come after the Middle Eastern country warned the UK it will “face the consequences” if it does not release the oil tanker amid suspicions it was carrying oil to Syria and breaking EU sanctions. 

Iran has demanded the immediate release of the oil tanker, while an Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander has threatened to seize a British ship in retaliation.

Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, said the UK’s action had set “a dangerous precedent and must end now”.

The timing of the capture comes as tensions between Iran and the West increased after it announced it would break the terms of a nuclear deal on the amount of uranium enrichment it had.

The EU on Tuesday urged Iran to reverse its scaled up uranium enrichment that breaches a nuclear arms control deal it agreed in 2015.

Referring to the deal’s formal name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), an EU spokeswoman said: “We continue to urge Iran not take further measures that undermine the nuclear deal to stop and to reverse all activities that are inconsistent with the JCPOA, including the production of low-enriched uranium.”

Iran has threatened to boost its uranium enrichment in a few hours above a cap set by the nuclear deal, a move that could mean the return of all economic sanctions on Tehran.

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