President Trump called Iran "nothing but trouble" after hearing from Great Britain that tankers had been confiscated in the Strait of Hormuz.
LONDON – British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt warned Iran of "grave consequences" if it did not release a British-flagged oil tanker that it confiscated on Friday in the strategic Strait of Hormuz, even though he did excluded. "Military Options."
The seizure of the "Stena Impero" may mark the most significant escalation of tensions between Iran and the West since they began to increase in May, about a year after the US withdrew from an aspired international agreement Nuclear Program
The Pentagon announced that it would authorize the transfer of troops to Saudi Arabia as an "additional deterrent," contributing to the 1,000 troops stationed in the Middle East in June.
The showdown has caused worldwide concern Every maneuver is feared that misunderstandings or missteps on both sides could lead to war.
"It is important to preserve the freedom of navigation and ensure that all ships in the region can move safely and freely," Hunt said late Friday before a meeting of the emergency government. He then told the British media: "We are looking for a diplomatic way to resolve the situation, but we are very sure that this must be resolved."
Roughly a fifth of world crude oil exports pass through the Strait of Hormuz.
An undated handout photo of Stena Bulk showing a British-registered oil tanker "Stena Impero" at sea. (Photo: EPA-EFE)
Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) announced on Friday that the "Stena Impero" was being taken to an Iranian port for failing to comply with "international maritime laws and regulations" corresponded. On Saturday, the state-run Iranian news agency IRNA reported that the Stena Impero was colliding with an Iranian fishing boat, damaging it and then responding to calls from smaller vessels. The fishing boat informed the Iranian Port and Maritime Organization, which notified the IRGC. The IRGC initiated an investigation.
A statement from Stena Bulk, who owns the confiscated tanker, said the ship had 23 crew members on board when it was seized. They come from India, Russia, Latvia and the Philippines. There were no reports that any of them had been injured.
Another British ship was briefly detained Friday before it was allowed to leave. The owner of the Liberian-flagged but British-owned tanker said he had been boarded by armed guards. The ship "Mesdar" has left the territorial waters of Iran, according to Iranian state media.
"This only shows what I say about Iran: trouble," President Donald Trump told reporters in the White House. "Nothing but trouble."
Trump declined to say whether Iran's moves could cross a "red line" or how the US could react. He noted that the US has signed a maritime security agreement with the United Kingdom.
The recent incident is due to Iran's threat to seize a British oil tanker in the Persian Gulf after the British Royal Marines captured an Iranian tanker off Gibraltar in the Mediterranean earlier this month, suspected of transporting oil to Syria to have infringement of the sanctions of the European Union. Iran denied that the ship was on its way to Syria.
US. Patrol planes are nearby and monitor the situation in the Strait of Hormuz. Naval Forces Central Command has established contact with American vessels in the area to ensure their safety, a Defense Department official said. Britain has sent additional warships to the region and accompanied oil tankers in the region.
US. Central Command said it was in the process of developing a "multinational maritime effort" called "Operation Sentinel" to increase the safety of the major waterways in the Middle East.
Last month, Trump abruptly canceled a planned retaliatory attack on Iran after the country crushed an unmanned US drone, but his government has continued to try to squeeze Iran's leaders into harsh economic sanctions. Days after he withdrew the strike against Iran, Trump threatened "overwhelming force" against Iran if it were to attack US assets or personnel. Trump announced that the US had "destroyed" an Iranian drone on Thursday. Iran said there is no evidence.
Contributors: Doug Stanglin, Nicholas Wu, David Jackson, Donovan Slack and John Fritze of Washington, DC; Associated Press
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