Iran orders 'foreign powers' to leave the Strait of Hormuz, and says the West is playing a 'dangerous game' over Gibraltar tanker seizure

FILE PHOTO - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (not pictured) and his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif attend a news conference in Moscow, Russia May 8, 2019. REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina

  • Many of the latest escalations between Iran and the
    West have been taking place in the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow
    waterway that sees $1.2 billion worth of the world’s oil flow
    through it every day.
  • On Wednesday, three Iranian gunboats harassed a British
    oil tanker in the strait, the UK said.
  • Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman warned on Friday:
    “Foreign powers should leave the region.”
  • Iran has threatened to disrupt maritime traffic in the
    strait multiple times in the past, as doing so could decrease the
    world’s oil supply and send prices shooting up.
  • The spokesman also lashed out at Britain was playing a
    “dangerous game” by seizing an Iranian oil tanker in Gibraltar last
    week.
  • Nuclear-deal tensions between Iran and the West also
    remain unresolved.
  • Visit Business
    Insider’s homepage for more stories
    .

Iran has told “foreign powers” to leave its surrounding regions
and warned that the rapidly-escalating tensions between Tehran and
the West are “a dangerous game.”

“Foreign powers should leave the region because Iran and other
regional countries are capable of securing the regional security,”
Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi told the state-run
IRNA news agency on Friday,
according to Reuters
.

It is not clear what “the region” entails specifically, or who
the “other regional countries” are.

strait of hormuz traffic 5july2019 skitch

Tensions in the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow waterway to Iran’s
south, have dramatically escalated in recent weeks.

Some 21 million barrels of oil exports flow through the strait
every day, according
to the US Energy Information Administration
. That’s about
one-third of the world’s sea-traded oil, or $1.197 billion worth of
oil a day,
at current oil prices
.

The passage has both internationally- and Iranian-controlled
waters.

Iran has threatened to disrupt maritime traffic in the strait
multiple times in the past, as doing so could decrease the world’s
oil supply and send prices shooting up.

Read more:
How the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow stretch of water where ships
transport $1.2 billion worth of oil every day, is at the heart of
spiraling tensions with Iran

british heritage marinetraffic

‘This is a dangerous game’

Three gunboats operated by Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary
Guard Corps (IRGC) attempted to steer a British oil tanker out of
international waters and Iran-controlled waters on Wednesday
afternoon, the UK government said.

But a Royal Navy frigate — HMS Montrose — placed itself
between the tanker and the Iranian boats, aimed its weapons, and
gave “verbal warnings” for it to leave, the UK said. The Iranian
vessels then retreated.

Read more:
The British oil tanker that Iran confronted with 3 gunboats was a
BP ship that worried it was about to be targeted

The harassment came after the British Royal Marines helped seize
an Iranian oil tanker
off the coast of Gibraltar
, a British territory, on July 4.
Officials said the tanker, the Grace 1, was carrying Iranian oil to
Syria in breach of EU sanctions.

FILE PHOTO: Oil supertanker Grace 1 on suspicion of being carrying Iranian crude oil to Syria is seen near Gibraltar, Spain July 4, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo

In his Friday remarks to IRNA, Mousavi urged the UK to
immediately release the Grace 1, and threatened to retaliate.

“This is a dangerous game and has consequences … the legal
pretexts for the capture are not valid,” Mousavi said, according to
Reuters. “The release of the tanker is in all countries’
interest.”

He also warned of reciprocal measures, but did not specify what
they were.

Read more:
UK orders ‘heightened security’ for all British-flagged vessels in
the Strait of Hormuz as Iran threatens shipping

On June 13, two oil tankers passing through the strait were
attacked with mines. The US blamed Iran for the attack, but Tehran
has repeatedly denied it.

A week later, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard shot down a US drone in
the same area.

Iranian Revolutionary Guard speedboat

Nuclear tensions still persist

Iran’s economy is suffering from crippling US sanctions, which
came after President Donald Trump’s administration withdrew from
the 2015 nuclear deal designed to prevent Tehran from developing a
nuclear weapon.

Tehran
breached a nuclear-deal limit
on its stockpile of uranium,
enriched to 3.67%, earlier this month, and has continued to enrich
the purity of the stockpile, international monitors said.

Iran has also threatened to enrich its fuel to weapons-grade
levels, with experts saying that it could have enough to produce a
weapon in a year.

European signatories of the nuclear deal have been
scrambling to halt
Iran’s nuclear enrichment, but Tehran has
largely ignored them, saying that they haven’t helped them
circumvent US sanctions well enough.

trump rouhani iran 2x1

Tehran on Sunday gave Europe 60 days to find a new way to help
Iran economically, and said it would restart deactivate centrifuges
and ramp up uranium enrichment to 20% purity,
Reuters reported
, citing Mojtaba Zolnour, the chairman of
parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy commission.

Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, also said
Thursday that his country would not negotiate with the US as long
as its sanctions remain, Reuters reported.

SEE ALSO: Iranian
gunboats backed away in a showdown with a Royal Navy frigate after
staring down the barrel of the ‘perfect weapon’

READ MORE: Iran’s
gunboat challenge against a British tanker could have caused a
massive explosion and billions in damages


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Source: FS – All – Economy – News
Iran orders 'foreign powers' to leave the Strait of Hormuz, and says the West is playing a 'dangerous game' over Gibraltar tanker seizure