File photo – Britain’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.
July 29, 2019
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has dismissed the idea of a tanker swap with Iran in a Monday morning interview with BBC World Service.
A day earlier on Sunday, Kamal Kahrrazi, Chairman of Iran’s Foreign Relations Strategic Council, a body that operates under the aegis of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s office, suggested that Tehran will consider hastening “judiciary procedures” about a British-flagged oil tanker it has detained, if Iran’s Grace 1 oil tanker which remains under detention in Gibraltar is released.
“There is no quid pro quo, this is not about some kind of barter. This is about the international law and the rules of the international legal system being upheld and that is what we will insist on,” Dominic Raab said.
Meanwhile, Iran’s ambassador to London, Hamid Baeidinejad attempted to steal the show in a Monday July 29 tweet: “Impossible to advance a quid pro quo or barter exchange of detained UK and Iranian ships as some British media suggest. UK has illegally detained the ship carrying Iranian oil while the British ship is detained for violating some key safety/security regulations in Hormoz Strait.”
In another interview on Monday, Raab told Sky News that Iran should act in compliance with international regulations if it wishes to become a responsible member of the world community.
Raab had said earlier that he is not in a hurry to decide about the fate of the British-flagged oil tanker detained in Iran.
Iran’s President Rouhani had also said on Boris Johnson’s first day as British Prime Minister that if Europeans stop what they have been doing in Gibraltar, they will receive an appropriate response from Iran.
He was referring to the detention of Iranian oil tanker Grace 1 at Gibraltar for violating EU sanctions against Syria on July 4, which was followed by Iranian threats of retaliation and eventually the seizure of a British vessel.
The UK has accused Iran of piracy in the waters of Oman by seizing its tanker on 19 July and has called for forming a European coalition to protect Europe’s fleets in the Persian Gulf region.
Tensions between Iran and the United Kingdom reached an unprecedented level after Iran’s revolutionary guards, IRGC, detained British-Flagged oil tanker Stena Impero.
After the standoff ensued the United Kingdom tasked its fleet in the Persian Gulf to escort UK-flagged ships sailing through the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Persian Gulf.
The UK is also trying to arrange a group of European warships to protect the security of navigation in the region.
In one of the latest developments, a South Korean warship has also been deployed
to the Persian Gulf to help boost the safety of navigation in the region.