Oil tanker war - Muscat is on the line and international reactions are accelerating News -

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The pace of regional and international reactions in the oil tanker file in the Strait of Hormuz accelerated. In a comment on Iran's seizure of Britain's flagged oil tanker Stina Empero, Oman said on Sunday that it was in contact with all parties to ensure the safe passage of trans-shipment commercial vessels.
The Omani Foreign Ministry said on Saturday that the Sultanate also calls on all sides to exercise restraint and resolve disputes through diplomatic channels.
"The Sultanate is in contact with all parties with a view to ensuring the safe passage of commercial vessels crossing the Strait while maintaining its right to its territorial waters," the statement said.
In a letter to the United Nations Security Council, Britain said Iranian forces approached the tanker Stina Empero when they were in Omani territorial waters and that the action was "illegal interference."
Britain on Saturday condemned Iran's detention of the tanker as a "hostile act" and rejected Tehran's justification that the carrier had been detained because it was involved in a collision.

Symbolbild Anspnung in der Straße von Hormus (Imago Images / ZUMAPRESS.com / Marine Corps / Lance Cpl. D. Swanbeck)

Escalation in the Strait of Hormuz threatens oil exports

"The current tensions are very worrying and our priority is calm and we are not seeking confrontation with Iran," Britain said in the letter. "But the threat of navigation during legal action in internationally recognized transport corridors is unacceptable and represents a major escalation."

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Sunday that "caution and foresight" were the only way to ease tension between his country and Britain. "After failing to attract Donald Trump to the war of the century and fearing the collapse of his team, John Bolton poisoning the UK's ideas in the hope of dragging it into a quagmire," Zarif said on Twitter.

Earlier on Sunday, Iran's parliament speaker Ali Larijani praised Iran's Revolutionary Guards for holding a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz. The Revolutionary Guards "reacted to British piracy," the official Tasnim news agency reported.
This comes after Tehran threatened to retaliate for the detention of its carrier Grace 1, accused of violating EU sanctions on Syria.
British Defense Secretary Benny Murdon described the incident as "hostile." British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he had spoken with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Jawad Zarif and expressed his "deep disappointment." The British Foreign Office also summoned the Iranian charge d'affaires in London.

UK Iran Krisis | Außenminister Jeremy Hunt (picture-alliance / ZUMAPRESS.com / R. Pinney)

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt

Iran's Revolutionary Guards spokesman Brigadier General Ramadan Sharif was quoted by Fars news agency as saying on Saturday that a warship was escorting British-flagged British explorer Steena Empero and tried to prevent Iran from holding her. He added that the Revolutionary Guards were able to escort the tanker to the coast despite the "resistance and interference" of the British warship. No British warship could be seen in the video released by the Revolutionary Guards.
For his part, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he discussed the situation with his British counterpart Hunt. "We talked about what they saw and what they know and how they started to think about how to respond," Pompeo said. "Iran is in a place where they put themselves."
France and Germany joined Britain in condemning the airline's detention.

Iran setzt britischen Tanker in der Straße von Hormus fest (picture-alliance / dpa / AP Photo)

Oil tankers – a new weapon in the Iran-Western confrontation

The three countries are signatories to the nuclear deal with Iran in 2015, which was undermined by Washington's withdrawal from it last year, pushing the already fragile relations between Iran and the West to further decline.
In New Delhi, the Indian Foreign Ministry said it was working hard to free its nationals from the crew and bring them home. The carrier was heading to a port in Saudi Arabia and suddenly changed course after crossing the Strait of Hormuz.
The United States has blamed Iran for a series of attacks on oil transport vessels around the Strait of Hormuz since mid-May. Tehran rejects the charges. Washington also said it had shot down an Iranian aircraft last week near the detention site of Stina Empero. Tehran on Friday denied the US assertion.
Washington is sending troops and military resources to Saudi Arabia for the first time since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.
M.S. / MS (Reuters)

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