An Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander has reportedly threatened on the British Government that he intends to seize a British ship in retaliation for the capture of an Iranian supertanker by Royal Marines in Gibraltar.
The British Royal Marines have been known to have boarded the ship off the coast of the British territory. They then seized it over accusations that it was breaking sanctions by taking oil to Syria.
The Iranian Supertanker christened The Grace 1, was impounded in the British territory on the southern tip of Spain after sailing the long way around Africa from the Middle East to the mouth of the Mediterranean, a route that demonstrates the unusual steps Iran appears to be taking to try to keep some exports flowing.
While Tehran has sent some harsh words as communication to Britain, Gibraltar is using a clear stance of extending the detention of the supertanker by 14 days. The second the British thought that it was breaking sanctions by taking crude oil to Syria.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi has confirmed to the media that the crude oil cargo was from Iran, trying to remove any iota of doubt. However, the ship’s paperwork had said the oil was from neighboring Iraq. However, tracking data reviewed by Reuters suggested it was loaded at an Iranian port. The ambiguity in paperwork has raised questions over the credibility of the cargo.
An obviously volatile situation is being fanned further, with Iran being in loggerheads with the West. All this is now unavoidable. However, this is being looked like an inevitable confrontation between Iran and the West, just weeks after the United States called off air strikes on Iran minutes before impact, and draws Washington’s close ally into a crisis in which European powers had striven to appear neutral.