British warship said to have thwarted Iranian effort to seize UK tanker in Gulf

Source: British warship said to have thwarted Iranian effort to seize UK tanker in Gulf | The Times of Israel

CNN says 5 Revolutionary Guards gunships try unsuccessfully to force the tanker off course and into Iranian waters; effort comes after Iranian ship detained in Gibraltar

The HMS Montrose seen during an exercise off the coast of Oman in 2005 (Mick Storey/MOD)

Iranian gunships on Wednesday attempted to seize a British oil tanker traveling through the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, but were foiled by a Royal Navy frigate, CNN reported.

According to the report, which cited sources in the US Pentagon, five gunships from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps surrounded the British Heritage oil tanker and tried to force it off course into Iranian territorial waters.

However, a British warship, the HMS Montrose, which was escorting the tanker in the wake of increased tensions in the area, confronted the Iranian boats and forced them away.

The Montrose trained its guns on the IRGC boats and issued a verbal warning, CNN said.

According to the report, a US aircraft overhead recorded the incident, but the US military has not yet released the video.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani had warned Britain of “consequences” on Wednesday over the detention of one of the Islamic Republic’s oil tankers off the coast of Gibraltar.

“I point out to the British that you initiated insecurity (on the seas) and you shall grasp the consequences of it later on,” Rouhani said in comments to the cabinet broadcast by state TV.

A British Royal Navy ship (L) patrols near supertanker Grace 1, which is suspected of carrying Iranian crude oil to Syria in violation of EU sanctions, after it was detained off the coast of Gibraltar on July 4, 2019. (Jorge Guerrero/AFP)

The detention of the 330-meter (1,000-feet) Grace 1 vessel comes at a sensitive time in Iran-EU ties as the bloc mulls how to respond to Tehran announcing it breached the uranium enrichment limit it agreed to in a troubled 2015 nuclear deal.

The Grace 1 tanker was halted in the early hours of Thursday by police and customs agencies in Gibraltar, aided by a detachment of British Royal Marines.

Crew members walk on board supertanker Grace 1 off the coast of Gibraltar on July 6, 2019 (JORGE GUERRERO / AFP)

The ship was detained 2.5 miles (four kilometers) south of Gibraltar in what the UK considers British waters, although Spain, which lays claim to the territory, says they are Spanish. It was boarded when it slowed down in a designated area used by shipping agencies to ferry goods to vessels.

“We have reason to believe that the Grace 1 was carrying its shipment of crude oil to the Banyas refinery in Syria,” Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said in a statement.

“That refinery is the property of an entity that is subject to European Union sanctions against Syria.

Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell told reporters the vessel was detained at the request of the United States.

In a statement, Britain’s Foreign Office said “we welcome this firm action by the Gibraltarian authorities, acting to enforce the EU Syria Sanctions regime.”

European Union sanctions against war-torn Syria have been in force since late 2011. The 28-member bloc has imposed sanctions on Syrian officials including government ministers over their role in the “violent repression” of civilians. It has frozen the assets of around 70 entities and introduced an embargo on Syrian oil, investment restrictions and a freeze on Syrian central bank assets within the EU.

The tanker’s detention comes just days after Iran announced it would exceed the uranium enrichment limit set up as part of the 2015 deal to avoid it building up to the level required for a nuclear warhead.

Tehran took the action in response to Washington abandoning the nuclear deal last year and hitting Iran’s crucial oil exports and financial transactions with biting sanctions.

The unilateral move has sent tensions in the Gulf soaring as the administration of US President Donald Trump forges ahead with a policy of “maximum pressure” against Iran in coordination with its Middle East allies Israel and Saudi Arabia.


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4 Comments on “British warship said to have thwarted Iranian effort to seize UK tanker in Gulf”

  1. Mr. Cohen Says:

    Mr. Yaakov Lappin [a military and
    strategic affairs correspondent] said:

    “An Iranian network of terrorist cells is spread
    out around the world, ready for activation at any time….”

    “The Iranians have built up a wide-reaching network of
    radical surrogates that extends beyond the Middle East.

    Members of this network range from hierarchical terror
    armies like Hezbollah, armed with massive arsenals
    of projectiles, to sleeper terrorist cells active in Europe,
    North America, and Latin America.”

    “This would explain the discovery and recent
    announcement of a Hezbollah bomb factory in London.

    It appears highly likely that the bombs were intended for
    Hezbollah cells intent on attacking Israeli targets in Britain.”

    “Past incidents have seen [Iran-backed] Hezbollah
    operatives scope out Israeli targets in countries
    as far away as Peru.”

    Iran Is Preparing a Worldwide Terror Network
    by Mr. Yaakov Lappin by 2019 July 3

  2. Mr. Cohen Says:

    Uzi Baruch wrote:

    Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed has
    banned the wearing of the niqab [Islamic] face-veil
    in public institutions “for security reasons.”

    Tunisia bans the niqab Muslim face cover in public
    by Uzi Baruch, 5/7/2019 for Israel National News

    QUESTION: When will Europe and North America
    follow their example, and wisely ban the niqab?
    When will Israel implement this security tactic?

  3. Mr. Cohen Says:

    Mr. Stephen M. Flatow [an attorney
    in New Jersey and father of Alisa Flatow,
    who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored
    Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995] said:

    “…Israel ended its rule over 98 percent [98%]
    of the Palestinian Arabs back in [year] 1995.

    It is the Palestinian Authority that rules them.

    The gang [of political Far-Leftists and Progressives
    and Socialists] knows that Israel does not rule the area.
    So why do the Progressive Networkers persist in
    promoting the fantasy that Israel rules over the Arabs?

    Because demonizing Israel as the occupier
    galvanizes their followers.

    It gives them something to be upset about…”

    SOURCE: Ten Jewish groups unite
    against Israeli democracy
    by Stephen M. Flatow

  4. Mr. Cohen Says:

    Evelyn Gordon [a journalist living in Israel] said:

    “Palestinians’ rights matter when targeted by Israel,
    but not when targeted by the Palestinian Authority.

    And Israeli rights never matter,
    except when violated by Israel.”

    When human rights become acceptable
    collateral damage
    by Evelyn Gordon, 2019 July 3

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