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Bridging The Gap
Iran summons UK ambassador in tanker seizure row
  Thursday 04 July, 2019
Iran summons UK ambassador in tanker seizure row

Iran has summoned the British ambassador in Tehran to complain about what it says was the illegal seizure of an Iranian oil tanker.

British Royal Marines helped the authorities in Gibraltar seize the ship because of evidence it was heading to Syria in breach of EU sanctions.

Spain's acting foreign minister said the seizure of the ship - Grace 1 - was at the US's request.

An Iranian foreign ministry spokesman said detaining its tanker was illegal.

Gibraltar port and law enforcement agencies detained the super tanker and its cargo on Thursday morning with the help of the marines.

The BBC has been told a team of about 30 marines, from 42 Commando, were flown from the UK to Gibraltar to help, at the request of the Gibraltar government.

The team boarded the Panama-flagged ship from a helicopter by rope. No shots were fired.

A defence source described it as a "relatively benign operation" without major incident.

However, Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi was later quoted as saying the UK's ambassador in Tehran, Robert Macaire, had been summoned over the "illegal seizure" of the tanker.

In a brief interview for Iranian TV's Channel Two, Mr Mousavi said the seizure was "a form of piracy" and did not have any legal and international basis. He called for the tanker to be immediately released to continue its journey.

He added that "the move indicated that the UK follows the hostile policies of the US, which is unacceptable for the Iranian nation and government".

Source: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-48871462

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