Early on Thursday, two American officers, who had been chatting with Reuters on the situation of anonymity, claimed that 5 boats believed to belong to the IRGC had approached the tanker British Heritage on the northern entrance of the Strait of Hormuz and ordered it to cease.
The Iranian boats dispersed, stated one of many sources, after the UK’s Royal Navy frigate HMS Montrose, which had been escorting the tanker, “pointed its weapons on the boats and warned them over radio.”
The opposite official additionally known as the alleged incident an act of “harassment and an try to intrude with the passage.”
Nonetheless, the IRGC rejected the US officers’ declare, stressing that Iranian boats had been finishing up their regular duties.
“Patrols by the IRGC’s Navy vessels have been underway within the Persian Gulf primarily based on present procedures and missions assigned to them with vigilance, precision and power,” stated the Public Relations Division of the IRGC Navy’s Fifth Naval Zone in a press release.
“Prior to now 24 hours, there was no encounter with international ships, together with British ones,” it added.
The assertion additional famous that the IRGC Navy’s fifth zone has the ability to behave “decisively and swiftly” and seize international vessels within the space it’s tasked with patrolling if an order is issued to that impact.
Equally, Britain claimed Thursday that three Iranian vessels had tried to dam the passage of its tanker however backed off.
“HMS Montrose was pressured to place herself between the Iranian vessels and British Heritage and difficulty verbal warnings to the Iranian vessels, which then turned away,” a British authorities consultant stated.
Iran’s Overseas Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif additionally reacted to the allegations, saying they’re merely meant to create tensions.
Those that make such claims try to “cowl up their weak level,” he added. “Apparently the British tanker has handed. What they’ve stated themselves and the claims which have been made are for creating stress and these claims don’t have any worth.”
The claims got here two weeks after British marines illegally seized an Iranian oil tanker within the Strait of Gibraltar beneath the pretext that the vessel had been suspected of carrying crude to Syria in violation of EU sanctions towards the Arab nation.
Reviews, nonetheless, stated the seizure befell on the request of the US.
The Islamic Republic condemned the unlawful seizure as “maritime piracy” and summoned the British ambassador on three events to convey its protest on the confiscation.