Sunday, 20 October, 2019

Rouhani warns of 'repercussions' over British detention of oil tanker

A British soldiers are seen during an operation involving the oil supertanker Grace 1 Credit Reuters A British soldiers are seen during an operation involving the oil supertanker Grace 1 Credit Reuters
Deanna Wagner | 11 July, 2019, 02:43

The comments from Hassan Rouhani come after British Royal Marines joined authorities in Gibraltar in capturing the tanker amid suspicions that it was trying to provide crude oil to Bashar Assad's Syrian regime - an ally of the Islamic Republic.

Other senior Iranian officials have also made direct and indirect threats against the United Kingdom for the seizure of the tanker.

Jackie Wolcott, the USA ambassador to worldwide organizations in Vienna, told a gathering of the global Atomic Energy Agency that Iran's recent moves to enrich uranium beyond the deal's limits amounted to "nuclear extortion".

The seizure sparked the anger of Tehran, with the latest to weigh in President Rouhani, who said earlier today there will be "consequences" for Britain. The U.S. has accused Iran of involvement in the bombing of oil tankers in the Gulf and says it shot down an American drone in global airspace.

So far, the remaining parties to the nuclear deal - Russia, China, Germany, France, Britain and the European Union - have been unable to meet Tehran's demands for enough economic assistance to offset the American sanctions. In recent weeks, Iran has begun to openly breach limits on uranium enrichment set by the deal in order to pressure European signatories to salvage it.

He also said Iran's increase in uranium enrichment was for peaceful aims, the semi-official news agency Tasnim reported.

Trump Warns Iran "Sanctions Will Soon Be Increased, Substantially"
The Trump administration killed the JCPOA in May 2018 and has imposed the toughest ever sanctions on Iran. The next day, its atomic energy agency announced that it was enriching uranium to 4.5 percent.

Rouhani, however, after meeting with Bonne said "Iran has fully left the path open for diplomacy and negotiation".

According to the British Ministry of Defense, the Iranian vessel was seized at the request of their US partners.

"You are an initiator of insecurity and you will understand its repercussions", without elaborating.

Shipping data that Reuters has reviewed suggests that the tanker en route to Syria was loaded with Iranian oil off the Iranian coast.

A diplomatic adviser to French President Emmanuel Macron held talks in Tehran Wednesday aimed at saving the 2015 deal.

Iran has condemned the British government's move as "maritime piracy" and summoned Britain's ambassador three times in protest.