Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri has warned that the Islamic Republic will respond to the UK’s seizure of an Iranian oil tanker in Gibraltar in due time.
Addressing a Tuesday ceremony in Tehran, General Baqeri said the Iranian supertanker has been seized based on “false pretexts” and in retaliation for Iran’s brave move against the US spy drone.
“The UK’s move will not remain unanswered, and in due time and place, we’ll consider responding to the cowardly move, if necessary,” he added.
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.
While the UK claims it has seized the tanker on the pretext that it was carrying oil to Syria in breach of the EU sanctions against the Arab country, Iran says it was not bound for Syria, and the UK was not allowed to seize it.
“The oil tanker (seized in Gibraltar) was not bound for Syria. The Syrian port they mention basically is not suitable for such type of tanker to dock,” Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Seyyed Abbas Araqchi said Sunday.
“The oil tanker carrying Iran’s oil was a supertanker with 2 million barrels of oil, and with such a huge capacity it could not cross the Suez Canal,” Araqchi added, speaking to reporters in a press conference.
“No law allows the UK government to do such a thing,” he said, protesting the UK Navy for seizing the oil tanker.
He said the country will legally pursue the issue and test any path in order to secure its interests, but it is hopeful that the problem is resolved through diplomatic channels.