UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab said on Monday that his country rejects the exchange of oil tankers with Iran. He also demanded Tehran to release the British tanker.
Raab’s statements came following the announcement that London intends to send more troops to the Gulf region as part of UK’s efforts for safeguarding the maritime navigation in the Strait of Hormuz. The British force will be located in Bahrain.
The British minister noted that the United States supports a Europe-led mission for safeguard navigation in the Gulf.
On 4 July, the British Royal Marines seized an Iranian tanker “Grace 1” off Gibraltar. London said that the Iranian tanker was transporting 2.1m barrels of oil to the Syrian regime in violation to EU sanctions.
Few days after, the British-flagged Swedish-owned oil tanker “Stena Impero” was taken by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) “at the request of Ports and Maritime Organisation of Iran in Hormozgan Province when passing through the Strait of Hormuz, for failing to respect international maritime rules.”
On Sunday, Tehran suggested that the UK should firstly release the Iranian tanker before Iran releases the British one.
Last week, Italy, Denmark, the Netherlands, and France announced backing the British proposal for a European naval force to protect the Strait of Hormuz after Iran has seized the British-flagged tanker in the strait. The proposal is backed by the US.
Meanwhile, South Korea expressed willingness to join the European mission in the Strait of Hormuz in order to secure the maritime route for its commercial ships.