Following the capture of an Iranian vessel off the coast of Gibraltar by British marines, the secretary of the Iranian Expediency Discernment Council sent out a tweet calling for action against Britain.
The Secretary, Mohsen Rezaee, said in his tweet “If Britain does not release the Iranian oil tanker, it is the authorities’ duty to seize a British oil tanker,” implying what consequences there would be for the British seizure.
The reason that British marines captured the ship was reported to be because they suspected it was in violation of EU sanctions that have been placed on Syria, who are prohibited from receiving a variety of imports, including petroleum products. While it is not fully clear what the ship is transporting, it is thought that the ship, Grace 1, was transporting crude oil from Iran to refineries in Syria.
The crew of the ship is being interviewed by Gibraltar’s government to determine the true nature of the ship, and will be kept for an additional 14 days to conduct these interviews. Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said the capturing the ship is an “act of piracy,” and in a meeting with British ambassador Rob Macaire “called for the immediate release of the oil tanker, given that it has been seized at the request of the US, based on the information currently available.” It is unclear exactly what Zarif meant in saying that the tanker was seized at the request of the US. While tensions between the two countries have been steadily rising over the past month or so due to provocations by America, there has yet to be much talk by US president Trump or other US officials about this specific incident.
The US national security advisory John Bolton said over Twitter that he is pleased with the UK’s decision to capture the ship and hopes “our allies will continue to prevent regimes in Tehran & Damascus from profiting off this illicit trade.”