The Iranian Foreign Ministry summoned Britain’s ambassador to Tehran, Rob Macaire, on Thursday hours after reports emerged that the Iranian vessel had been captured by British Royal Marines and impounded.
Speaking at the meeting with the British diplomat, a senior Iranian Foreign Ministry official deplored the British marines’ seizure of the oil tanker as “piracy” and said the UK has not the right to implement its or EU’s unilateral sanctions against other nations “in an extraterritorial manner”.
According to the received information, the seizure of the tanker has taken place at the behest of the US, the Iranian official said, calling for an immediate release of the vessel.
The British ambassador, for his part, emphasized that he would convey Iran’s message to London, adding that Britain would not abide by the unilateral sanctions imposed by the US against Iran.
British Royal Marines seized the giant Iranian oil tanker in Gibraltar on Thursday for trying to take oil to Syria allegedly in violation of EU sanctions, a dramatic step that could escalate its confrontation with the West.
Analysts believe that the move by the British government to capture the Syria-bound tanker is illegal and can have serious consequences for the government in London.