|[Published: Saturday July 20 2019]
UK tanker seized after collision, Iran says
GENEVA/LONDON 20 Jul (ANA) - Iran said on Saturday it seized a British-flagged oil tanker because it was involved in an accident, but Britain’s foreign minister said he feared Tehran was taking “a dangerous path” and other major European powers expressed alarm.
Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards took control of the Stena Impero in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday after it collided with an Iranian fishing boat whose distress call it ignored, the Fars news agency reported.
The vessel and its crew would remain in the Iranian port of Bander Abbas while the accident was investigated, it said, quoting the head of Ports and Maritime Organisation in southern Hormozgan province, Allahmorad Afifipour.
France and Germany joined Britain in condemning the seizure.
All three countries are signatories to the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers that Washington undermined by quitting last year, setting Iran’s already fragile relations with the West on a downward spiral.
“We have learned with great concern of the seizure of a British vessel by Iranian forces,” France’s foreign ministry said. “We strongly condemn it and express our full solidarity with the United Kingdom.”
A German foreign ministry spokesman said further escalation of regional tensions “would be very dangerous (and)... undermine all ongoing efforts to find a way out of the current crisis.”(ANA)
FA/ANA/20 July 2019------