CNN: Iranian boats attempted to seize British tanker11 July 2019 | 07:16 | FOCUS News Agency
The British Heritage tanker was sailing out of the Persian Gulf and was crossing into the Strait of Hormuz area when it was approached by the Iranian boats. The Iranians ordered the tanker to change course and stop in nearby Iranian territorial waters, according to the officials. A US aircraft was overhead and recorded video of the incident, though CNN has not seen the footage.
The UK's Royal Navy frigate HMS Montrose had been escorting the tanker from the rear. It trained its deck guns on the Iranians and gave them a verbal warning to back away, which they did. Montrose is equipped on the deck with 30 mm guns specifically designed to drive off small boats. UK officials had previously confirmed that the Montrose was in the region performing a "maritime security role."
The incident is yet another flashpoint in a series of maritime episodes involving Iran, coming less than a week after British Royal Marines stormed an Iranian ship that was suspected of carrying oil to Syria. Just last month, tensions between the US and Iran escalated into a military standoff after an American drone was shot down by Iran over the Straight of Hormuz.
At the same time, concerns are rising in Europe and the United States after Iran began increasing uranium enrichment after saying it would no longer comply with the nuclear agreement it signed in 2015. The US pulled out of the nuclear deal in 2018 and reintroduced economic sanctions.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned earlier Wednesday that the UK "will see the consequences" after Gibraltar officials and UK Royal Marines seized an Iranian oil tanker bound for Syria last week, according to Rouhani's press office.
Rouhani, speaking in a cabinet session, said, "I tell the British that they are the initiator of insecurity and you will understand its consequences later."
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