In an op-ed article on Sunday, the editor-in-chief of Kayhan newspaper lauded Iran’s decision to capture a British-flagged oil tanker at the Strait of Hormuz for violating the maritime law, saying Tehran has exercised its legal right to act in retaliation for the illegitimate seizure of Iranian supertanker by the UK Navy.
Hossein Shariatmadari said Iran has captured the UK oil tanker on legal grounds, because the UK had seized Iran’s vessel illegally.
He also cited the “right of reprisal” in the international law, which recognizes a nation’s right to take retaliatory measures against another state in response to a hostile move.
“As a result, we can, and must, maintain that we have captured the British oil tanker in a retaliatory move in reprisal for the seizure of Iran’s oil tanker by the UK, not because of maritime violations,” the Iranian journalist added.
On July 19, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy captured British oil tanker “Stena Impero” for violating international maritime laws when crossing the high-traffic Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf.
The UK vessel had switched off its GPS locator, in contravention of international regulations, and was sailing into the Strait of Hormuz in a wrong traffic pattern.
The British tanker was entering the strait from the southern route which is an exit path, increasing the risk of an accident
Moreover, Stena Impero had not heeded any of the warnings from the Iranian Ports and Maritime Organization.
Iran’s legal action against the British oil tanker came after the British Royal Marines seized Iran’s oil tanker Grace 1 in Gibraltar on July 4 for trying to take oil to Syria allegedly in violation of EU sanctions.
Tehran has made it clear that the supertanker was not bound for Syria and its seizure has taken place at the behest of the US.