Hunt Says Eyes ‘Diplomacy’ after IRGC Seizure of UK Tanker

Hunt Says Eyes ‘Diplomacy’ after IRGC Seizure of UK Tanker

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the UK was looking at a "diplomatic way" to resolve the situation after Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) captured a British oil tanker for breaching international maritime law while crossing the Strait of Hormuz.

“I have spoken to Secretary of State Pompeo in the US earlier this evening about the situation. I’ve tried to speak to Foreign Minister Zarif of Iran, but I understand that he is on a plane, so I will speak to him as soon as I can,” Hunt addressed the media after attending a meeting of the UK government's emergency committee Cobra on Friday night.

“We’re not looking at military options, we’re looking at a diplomatic way to resolve this situation. But we are very clear that it must be resolved,” he added, CNN reported. 

The IRGC’s Public Relations Department said in a statement on Friday that the vessel named “Stena Impero” had been impounded “at the request of Hormozgan Ports and Maritime Organization when passing through the Strait of Hormuz, for failing to respect international maritime rules.”

The oil tanker was transferred to the coast to undergo the required legal proceedings, the statement added.

The Northern Marine Management, which owns the Stena Impero, has said the vessel carried 23 crew members.

"Northern Marine Management has not been able to establish contact directly with the vessel since it was notified of the incident at approximately 1600 Today, 19th July 2019," it said in a statement.

Reports also suggest that the British-flagged oil tanker was heading to Saudi Arabia's port of Al-Jubail from the UAE port of Fujairah when it was captured by the IRGC.

A diplomatic standoff broke out between Tehran and London after Britain’s naval forces unlawfully seized Iranian supertanker Grace 1 and its cargo in the Strait of Gibraltar earlier this month.

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei has denounced Britain’s illegal seizure of the oil tanker, warning that the act of “piracy” will not go unanswered.

“The wicked Britain commits an act of maritime piracy and steals our ship,” said Ayatollah Khamenei. “They (the British) perpetrate a crime and make it look legal.”

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