Iran told UK warship ‘not to interfere’ as it seized British-flagged tanker

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Iranian commandos seized the Stena Impero earlier this month in the world’s most important waterway for oil shipments.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have released footage purportedly showing them warning off a British warship as they seized a British-flagged tanker near the Strait of Hormuz.

In the video, HMS Montrose is told “not to interfere” and “don’t put your life in danger”.

Iranian commandos seized the Stena Impero on 19 July in the world’s most important waterway for oil shipments.

It happened two weeks after British forces captured an Iranian oil tanker near Gibraltar.

Gibraltar said that vessel was suspected of smuggling oil to Syria in breach of European Union sanctions.

In the video, published by the semi-official Tasnim news agency on Monday, a Guards representative tells the British warship: “You are required not to interfere in these issues.”

A voice from the boat replies: “This is British warship foxtrot two three six. I am in the vicinity of an internationally recognised strait with a merchant vessel in my vicinity conducting transit passage.”

The Guards’ spokesman responds: “Don’t put your life in danger.”

There is also an exchange on the video between the Guards and the same British warship earlier in the month, when Iran tried to block the transit of a vessel called the British Heritage through the Strait of Hormuz.

Three Iranian boats attempted to block the ship’s passage, but withdrew after warnings from the UK ship, the British government said on 11 July.

The Royal Navy has now been tasked with escorting all British-flagged vessels through the Strait of Hormuz.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told Sky News: “The Iranians have unlawfully seized a UK-flagged vessel and if the Iranians want to come out of the dark into being accepted as a responsible member of the international community they need to adhere to the rules-based system of the international community.

“We will call on them – engage with all of the vigour that we can – to make sure that the vessel and the crew are released.”

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