Iran’s Revolutionary Guards posted a video online on Saturday showing speedboats pulling up alongside the detained British-flagged tanker Stena Impero and troops wearing ski masks and carrying machine guns rappelling to its deck from a helicopter.
London wants to de-escalate tensions with Tehran, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said on Saturday following a meeting of the UK’s emergencies committee over Iran’s seizure of a British-flagged ship in the Gulf.
The meeting “reaffirmed UK desire to de-escalate,” Hunt said, adding that the Stena Impero oil tanker was seized in Omani waters “in clear contravention of international law” in “utterly unacceptable” circumstances.
The seizure came hours after a court in the British overseas territory of Gibraltar said it would extend by 30 days the detention of Grace 1, an Iranian tanker seized two weeks ago in an operation aided by British Royal Marines on allegations of breaching EU sanctions against Syria.
Britain told the United Nations Security Council on Saturday that a British-flagged tanker seized by Iran was approached by Iranian forces when it was in Omani territorial waters and the action “constitutes illegal interference.”
“The ship was exercising the lawful right of transit passage in an international strait as provided for under international law,” Britain’s UN mission wrote to the Security Council.
“International law requires that the right of transit passage shall not be impeded, and therefore the Iranian action constitutes illegal interference.”
The letter, seen by Reuters, was also sent to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.