The government threatened Iran with “serious consequences” and advised U.K. ships to avoid the area. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said in a Tweet Saturday that British shipping will be protected. Tensions have been flaring in the Strait of Hormuz in recent weeks as Iran lashes out against U.S. sanctions that are crippling its oil exports and the seizure of one of its tankers near Gibraltar. The Strait accounts for about a third of the world’s seaborne oil flows and Brent crude rallied as much as 2.4% on Friday’s news.
“Iran is clearly in a tit-for-tat strategy and for me what happened on Friday is within that framework,” said Olivier Jakob, managing director of consultant Petromatrix GmbH. “I think it will stay like this. In terms of really holding a tanker I don’t think they will do more than this, but we could have more harassment. ” Iran’s state-run Islamic Republic News Agency said the U.K. -flagged ship was seized after it crashed into a fishing vessel.
It has been given no instructions about the fate of the ship, which is anchored at Bandar Bahonar. State television said the vessel will be held until judicial assessments are complete. In recent weeks the U.K. Navy has escorted some tankers out of the region, while the U.S. said it downed an Iranian drone just days ago. The latest incident cooled hopes earlier on Friday that the U.S. and Iran would soothe tensions by entering into negotiations with each other.
In Washington, President Donald Trump said he will be “working with the U.K. ” and suggested the latest developments justify his harsher approach toward Tehran. The second ship, the Liberian-flagged Mesdar, re-established contact with its U.K. -flagged tankers currently in the Arabian Gulf, ship tracking shows. The semi-official Tasnim news agency said the Mesdar “was only briefed on requirements for safe navigation and the observance of environmental regulations and allowed to continue on its course,” citing military officials it didn’t identify. Tensions between Iran and the West have been rising since President Trump pulled out of the 2015 agreement with Iran to limit its nuclear program.
That followed comments by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif that appeared to signal a willingness to talk under specific conditions. That optimism quickly waned. ‘Outlaw Country’ “We should form an international coalition of democratic countries to escort every single commercial vessel through the gulf,” Burns said in an interview in Colorado. “The Iranians are an outlaw, they’re acting like an outlaw country, they’re trying to shut down one of the major waterways in the world and then hold us up on it and blackmail us.
” The Stena Impero is managed by Northern Marine Management, based in Clydebank, Scotland and is, just like Stena Bulk, a subsidiary of Swedish-based Stena AB. The Mesdar is owned by a U.K. subsidiary of Algerian oil company Sonatrach Group. On July 11, the British Navy intervened to stop Iran from blocking a commercial oil tanker leaving the Persian Gulf. “These incidents in isolation are not especially alarming” former U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice said at a conference in Aspen, Colorado.
Click here to read the full article