Iran threatens tit-for-tat retaliation after after Royal Marines storm super tanker

epa07695824 A handout picture provided by the British Ministry of Defence (MOD) showing the Panama registered Grace 1 tanker after British Royal Marines from 42 Commando took part in the seizure of an Iranian oil tanker in the Gibraltar Strait, 04 July 2019. The MOD report that they were followed on board shortly by Gibraltar police and the ship was handed over to them to continue with further checks and procedures. The operation went off without a hitch and commandos were able to board the vessel quickly. The seizure was made because of evidence it was heading to Syria in breach of EU sanctions. EPA-EFE/RAF/BRITISH MINISTRY OF DEFENCE/HANDOUT MANDATORY CREDIT: MOD/CROWN COPYRIGHT HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES

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Iran has threatened to seize a British tanker after Royal Marines held one of their vessels suspected of taking oil to Syria off the coast of Gibraltar.

Mohsen Rezai, a senior commander in Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards, said on Twitter: “If Britain does not release the Iranian oil tanker, it is the (Iranian) authority’s duty to seize a British oil tanker.”

It comes as the crew of the seized ship, Grace 1, are being interviewed by officials.

British Royal Marines seized the oil tanker off the coast of Gibraltar on Thursday for trying to take oil to Syria in violation of European Union sanctions.

Royal Marines board ship in support of a Gibraltaran authorities operation to enforce sanctions on Syria
A handout picture provided by the British Ministry of Defence (MOD) showing British Royal Marines from 42 Commando who took part in the seizure the Panama registered Grace 1, Iranian oil tanker in the Gibraltar Strait, 04 July 2019. EPA-EFE/RAF/BRITISH MINISTRY OF DEFENSE

A spokesman for the Gibraltar government said the 28-strong crew of the Iranian oil tanker are being interviewed as witnesses, not criminals.

The spokesman said the crew, who have remained on board the super tanker, were mainly Indians with some Pakistanis
and Ukrainians.

In the meantime, the boarding of the tanker caused a row between Spain and the UK as it happened in waters that Spain considers to be its own.

Madrid will formally complain to London over what it considers to be an incursion into Spanish waters, said a source at the Foreign Ministry. Spain does not recognize any Gibraltarian territorial waters, based on the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht by which Spain ceded the territory during the War of Spanish Succession.

Via Sky News/El Pais

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