Britain threatens Iran with "serious measures" after detaining tanker flying its flag | News -

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Tension between London and Tehran has escalated following the incidents of the capture of oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz, either flying the flag of Britain or owned by British companies. After the Iranian Revolutionary Guards detained a second oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz in a short period, Iran allowed one to continue its journey while British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt threatened the Iranian leadership with "serious consequences" if it did not allow the second carrier to continue its normal flight, German Online.

The British government, after a security meeting, issued two warnings: one towards British shipping companies, demanding that they avoid movement in the waters of Hormuz and neighboring waters until further notice. The second is the Iranian government's demand for the release of the tanker and its crew.

"The crucial thing is to ensure the safety of the freedom of shipping and ensure the safe movement of all ships freely in the area," Hunt said. Hunt said an appropriate response was being sought in the Strait of Hormuz. But Hunt said in an interview with Sky News that the military option was not being contemplated. Saying that diplomatic means are ways to get out of the current situation, according to the site "Spiegel" Online.

Hunt said before a meeting of the British National Security Council "Cobra" in London that he had contact with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and consulted with him on the current situation. He said he had tried to telephone Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Jawad Zarif but the attempt did not succeed because the Iranian minister was on a flight.

After the meeting of the National Security Council, a British government spokesman said the government advised all British ships to avoid navigation in the waters of Hormuz and neighboring waters until further notice.

The British news agency Fars quoted an official as saying on Saturday (July 20, 2019) that British-flagged Stena Empero hit an Iranian fishing boat and ignored his distress call. The agency also quoted the official as saying that the 23 crew members of the detained tanker were now in the port of Bandar Abbas and would remain on board until the end of an investigation.

"I ran into an Iranian fishing boat … when the boat sent a distress call, the British-flagged vessel ignored it," said God Murad Afifi Bor, general manager of ports and shipping in the southern Iranian province of Hormuzgan. The crew consisted of 18 Indians and five from Russia, the Philippines, Lithuania and other countries, Afifi said.

According to the Fars news agency, the naval forces of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard escorted the tanker Stina Empero to Bandar Abbas on Friday evening and began investigating the incident on Saturday.

By Hafez Al-Sabah (Reuters)

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