Iran has reacted angrily to Britain’s seizure of it oil tanker in the early hours of July 4 near Gibraltar.
British commandos seized the supertanker Grace 1 as it sailed through the Strait of Gibraltar. It was carrying 2 million barrels of oil, reportedly destined for Syria.
What credibility can there be to the British claim that they carried out the act of piracy at the request of Gibraltar, which is a disputed British colony with a total population of 300,000?
Spain rejects British claims to Gibraltar and demands its return. Madrid insists Gibraltar is part of its territory.
On Friday (July 5), Iran’s foreign ministry summoned British ambassador Rob Macaire to explain the “illegal seizure” of its oil tanker.
It also demanded “the immediate release of the oil tanker, given that it has been seized at the request of the US, based on the information currently available,” the foreign ministry statement said.
Iran dismissed Britain’s excuse that it seized the Iranian oil tanker at the request of the “Gibraltarian authorities to enforce [European] sanctions against the regime of Bashar al-Assad.”
Spain’s acting Foreign Minister, Josep Borrell, confirmed Iran’s position saying Gibraltar had seized Grace 1 in response to a request from the US to Britain. The Spanish paper El Pais reported that Borrell said the US intelligence implied that the supertanker was in British territorial waters.
Madrid will now formally complain of a British incursion into Spanish waters, with Borrell, the EU’s nominee for High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, stating, “We are analysing the circumstances and seeing how they affect our sovereignty.”
The Washington war hawk and paid agent for the terrorist outfit, Mujahideen-e Khalq Organization, better known as munafiqeen (hypocrites), John Bolton was elated at the news.
He tweeted, “Excellent news: UK has detained the supertanker Grace I laden with Iranian oil bound for Syria in violation of EU sanctions. America & our allies will continue to prevent regimes in Tehran & Damascus from profiting off this illicit trade.”
Tehran’s reaction, however, was not confined to diplomatic protests only.
Mohsen Rezai, former head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and member of the Supreme National Security Council said Iran would respond to bullies “without hesitation.”
He warned in a tweet, “If Britain does not release the Iranian oil tanker, it is the authorities’ duty to seize a British oil tanker.”
Britain as usual is acting as America’s poodle while the US is behaving as an outlaw regime. There is nothing new about US misconduct.
Washington warlords are playing with fire. The Trump regime has imposed illegal sanctions on Iran since walking away from the multilateral agreement in May 2018.
While European states Britain, France and Germany—all signatories to the July 2015 nuclear accord with Iran known as JCPOA—say that they want to preserve the multilateral accord they have done little to uphold it.
They keep telling Iran not to breach the accord by suspending adherence to some of its provisions but they fail to fulfill their own obligations.
As Iran’s Foreign Minister Dr Javad Zarif told the New York Times in an interview published on July 4 that since it is a multilateral accord, it cannot be imposed unilaterally.
Iran alone is not responsible for adhering to it. He pointed out that Trump says it is a bad deal and wants to renegotiate it. Iran has rejected this demand since the deal was negotiated over several years and it is a multilateral, not a bilateral agreement.
It was also affirmed through UN Security Council resolution 2231 on July 20, 2015.
Dr Zarif said Iran “will remain committed to the deal as long as the remaining participants (EU, France, Germany, UK, Russia and China) observe the deal.”
“Survival or collapse of the JCPOA depends on the ability and willingness of all parties to invest in this undertaking. In a nutshell, a multilateral agreement cannot be implemented unilaterally,” Zarif said.
He also said that Iran’s decision to reduce its commitments was taken in line with its legal rights under paragraphs 26 and 36 of the nuclear deal, saying, “Paragraph 36 of JCPOA is a clear example that we negotiated this deal with the full understanding that we could not trust the commitment of the West.
The JCPOA obliges the European signatories to prove their commitment to the nuclear deal in action, Dr. Zarif said, adding that the Islamic Republic would commit to the agreement in exactly the same way as those countries would.
Britain’s illegal seizure of the Iranian oil tanker clearly shows the Europeans’ evil intentions. The West cannot be trusted to adhere to even a signed agreement.