Iran Releases A Footage Capturing British Oil Tanker Stena Impero
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Iran Releases A Footage Capturing British Oil Tanker Stena Impero

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British oil tanker
Thesun

On July 19, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard seized a British oil tanker that was traveling through the Strait of Hormuz. The name of the oil tanker is the Stena Impero.

Iranian gunboats and helicopters approached the oil tanker, then surrounded and captured the boat, along with its crew. Iranian officials say that the British oil tanker violated numerous international laws. The officials noted that international law permits the government to conduct an investigation under these circumstances.

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Representatives with the Iranian government say that the British ship turned off its tracker and ignored warnings.

Footage helicopter

Photo Credit: Screenshot

According to Erik Hanell, president and chief executive of Stena Bulk, who operates the ship, there were 23 crew members onboard. The crew members were of Indian, Russian, Latvian and Filipino descent. Hanell said that there have been no injuries or fatalities among the crewmembers.

Officials in the United Kingdom obviously disagreed with Iran’s assessment of the situation.

UK Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt said that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard was “in clear contravention of international law”.

New Footage

The Royal Navy released footage showing Iranian forces surrounding and raiding the boat. The scene was even more chaotic than initially described by international media.

As Iran’s Revolutionary Guard began the raid of the oil tanker, the UK government sent a warship to help. However, the warship arrived ten minutes too late. By the time the warship arrived, the Stena Impero had entered Iranian waters. British officials also revealed that Iran actually captured two tankers in recent raids. Along with the Stena Impero, Iran also tried to capture a tanker called the British Heritage.

Oil tanker

Stena Bulk. Photo Credit: BBC

Officials in Iran are insisting that the boat was up to no good, or at the very least causing a provocation.

Tehran’s foreign minister accused Britain of being an “accessory to the economic terrorism of the US.”

Another tanker called Mesdar, was also boarded by Iranian troops but later continued to Saudi Arabia.

UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt warned that there would be “serious consequences” for Iran.

“We’re not looking at military options. We’re looking at a diplomatic way to resolve the situation,” Hunt said.

UK officials are suggesting that western vessels should now be escorted by warships in the gulf.

Iran’s Oil Tanker

Iran is being very strict in the waters that they control because Gibraltar captured their ship earlier this month. On July 4th, Gibraltar captured an Iranian ship under suspicion that it was carrying cargo to Syria. The United States and the European Union currently have Syria under tight sanctions, but Iran is a trade ally. Gibraltar law enforcement arrested the captain and three other crew members from the Iranian ship.

Iran

Photo Credit: Screenshot

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called the tanker’s seizure an act of “piracy.” This is also the “economic terrorism” that the other Iranian official was referring to.

Increased Tensions

This standoff between Iran and the west could not have come at a worse time. Tensions between the two sides have been at a fevered pitch all summer. Relations began to deteriorate on June 13, when two US oil tankers caught fire near the Strait of Hormuz. The United States accused Iran of attacking the boats and setting them on fire.

However, there was no evidence to show that Iran was responsible. Then, on July 4th, Royal Marines seized the Iranian oil tanker off the coast of Gibraltar. A week later, on July 10, Iranian gunboats attempted to hijack the British Heritage. On July 16, Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei promised retaliation for the capture of the ship in Gibraltar.

That same week, on July 17, Donald Trump claimed that the US Navy shot down an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz. Two days later, on July 19, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard boarded two British oil tankers. The guards allowed one ship to pass, but captured the Stena Impero with 23 crew on board.

UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt promised to return the captured Iranian ship under numerous conditions. The main condition is for Iran to not ship oil and other prohibited goods to Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria. There is no clear end in sight for the negotiation process, but talk continues to toughen between both sides.

Donald Trump said that Iran was “nothing but trouble.” He also said that this recent drama shows that he was right about Iran all along.

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Aaron Baldridge is an activist from the midwestern United States who was inspired to become a journalist after watching the development of the Wikileaks story and the persecution of Julian Assange. Baldridge is especially interested in topics like surveillance, foreign policy, prison reform, and the legal system.

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