Mon, 09 Dec 2019

Caracas [Venezuela], July 20 (ANI): Iran's Foreign Minister (FM) Javad Zarif on Saturday slammed the UK, stating that it must "cease being an accessory to Economic Terrorism of the US."The Iranian leader's statement comes after Iran seized a UK-flagged ship, the Stena Impero, at the Strait of Hormuz on Friday, a move which has been slammed by France and Germany amongst others.

The move is largely being seen as a retaliatory measure after British Marines, along with Gibraltar's authorities, seized an Iranian oil tanker -- Grace One -- off the British Overseas Territory's coast on July 4.

"Unlike the piracy in the Strait of Gibraltar, our action in the Persian Gulf is to uphold int'l maritime rules. As I said in NY, it is IRAN that guarantees the security of the Persian Gulfthe Strait of Hormuz. UK must cease being an accessory to EconomicTerrorism of the US," Zarif tweeted.

"US EconomicTerrorism is a global menace. I'm in Venezuela to attend NAM meeting geared to forge a global response to unilateralism. In Iran's engagement with the world, we neither call for the ouster of leaders nor "bolster" them--decisions that are for the PEOPLE of a nation," he added.

Zarif had recently held talks with his British counterpart Jeremy Hunt via phone regarding the seizure of the Iranian ship, where the British leader had ensured UK's help to "facilitate release" of the oil tanker.

Tehran's move in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday came just hours after Gibraltar decided to extend the detention of Grace One for 30 days, according to CNN.

Tensions in the Strait could have dire consequences as 24 per cent of the global oil production passes through the passage and it is the only route to transport oil out of the Persian Gulf.

Two ships were seized by Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on Friday -- the UK-flagged Stena Impero and a Liberian-flagged MV Mesdar.

Iranian media reported that the British vessel was captured after an accident with a fishing boat, while the IRGC said that the vessel was held for "violating international regulations."While the Liberian-flagged ship was let off by Iran, Stena Impero has been taken to Iran's Bandar Abbas Port. Even though the ship was registered in the UK, there were no Britons on board. The 23-men crew was made up of people with Indian, Russian, Latvian and Filipino nationalities.

India is currently in touch with the Government of Iran to secure the early release and repatriations of Indian nationals onboard the detained UK-flagged vessel. (ANI)

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