Khamenei’s Adviser Dismisses EU Military Coalition In Persian Gulf, Talks Over Missiles

Saturday, 27 Jul, 2019

The Stena Impero was seized by Iranian forces in the Strait of Hormuz.

Samir Madani, who runs the site, said the vessel's beacon was probably switched off by the boarders of the boat - a common practice among Iranian crews when crossing into the Islamic Republic's waters. About one-fifth of the world's oil passes through the strait, and shipping companies are already deploying more unarmed security guards as an extra safeguard.

HMS Montrose, a British frigate now in the area, carried out the first mission under the new policy Wednesday evening.

The decision to provide a military escort to merchant shipping follows a meeting of Downing Street's emergency Cobra committee to discuss the situation in the Gulf.

Amir Hatami dismissed the claims, however, telling reporters Wednesday that when Iran shot down a USA drone last month it shared images of the wreckage to verify it.

"We had direct contact with the crew on board the vessel last night by telephone and they're all okay and in good health and they're getting good cooperation with the Iranians on board", Stena Bulk spokesman Pat Adamson said.

Iran has responded to stepped-up USA economic sanctions with a variety of military moves, and the Shahab-3 missile test launch could be considered another signal from Tehran that it will not back down.

The United States is ready to ensure protection for its commerical vessels in the Persian Gulf but will not escort every ship, US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told reporters on Wednesday.

The seizure came just two weeks after British authorities seized an Iranian tanker off Gibraltar on suspicion of it breaching sanctions against Syria.

Further exacerbating tensions between Tehran and London, on Wednesday the UK's High Court ruled that Britain's Ministry of Defence (MoD) was not liable to pay at least £20m ($25m) in interest on £387m ($480m) owed by the United Kingdom government to Iran from a decades-old British tank sale.

Iran has defended its move in capturing a British tanker in the Persian Gulf, saying that the vessel was impounded after it breached global law by attempting to flee the scene of a risky collision with an Iranian boat.

Former Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt earlier shared that British military vessel, HMS Montrose, had recently escorted a number of UK-flagged ships sailing through the Strait of Hormuz amid London's tensions with Tehran over a detained oil tanker in Gibraltar.

"We are confident we brought down one drone, (and) we may have brought down a second", McKenzie said.

Ratcheting up that pressure, Iran began openly exceeding the limits on its uranium enrichment set by the accord last month.

Tehran will not allow any disturbance in shipping there, Iran's IRNA news agency quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi as saying on Tuesday, as reported by Reuters.

Rouhani personally blurred the lies between the regime's aggressive tactics and its supposed diplomatic goal on Wednesday when he said that Tehran was ready to negotiate with its Western adversaries, but would only do so on its own terms.