Iranian Defence Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami has lashed out at the United Kingdom for illegally seizing an Iranian oil tanker in Gibraltar, saying the country will not tolerate London’s “maritime piracy”.
Speaking on Monday in the southern Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas, General Hatami said the UK Navy’s move “runs counter to international regulations and is a kind of maritime piracy.”
“This maritime piracy will definitely not be tolerated by the Islamic Republic,” he said, highlighting the long record of combating piracy.
Iranian supertanker Grace 1 was boarded and impounded by Gibraltar police and customs agencies, aided by a detachment of British Royal Marines, on Thursday at the US request in the Strait of Gibraltar.
Later in the day, Iran’s Foreign Ministry summoned Britain’s ambassador to the country to express its strong protest at the move.
At the Foreign Ministry, Rob Macaire was told that the British Royal Marines’ move was tantamount to “maritime piracy”, and that the UK must immediately release the oil tanker.
Macaire has since been seen at the foreign ministry two more times, the latest case of which was on Monday morning. While leaving the Foreign Ministry, journalists asked about his presence.
In response, he said he was there “just for business”.