France, Germany and Britain band together to condemn Iran's actions

A German foreign ministry spokesman said, "We urge Iran to release (this)... ship and its crew immediately.

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July 20, 2019 21:08
3 minute read.
France, Germany and Britain band together to condemn Iran's actions

British Purpose - Crud oil tanker - Calandkanaal - Port of Rotterdam. (photo credit: FRANS BERKELAAR)

France, Germany and Bahrain condemned Iran on Saturday afternoon after it seized a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz. A German foreign ministry spokesman said, "We urge Iran to release (this)... ship and its crew immediately. 

Germany continued by saying this could further escalate tensions in the region and "would be very dangerous and undermine all ongoing efforts to find a way out of the current crisis." 

France's foreign ministry also put out a comment saying, "We have learned with great concern of the seizure of a British vessel by Iranian forces and we strongly condemn it and express an already tense situation in the area."

Earlier Saturday, the British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt also expressed concern over the Iranian decision calling this a "dangerous path."

Iran's Fars news agency originally reported late Friday night that the British oil tanker had been taken to the Bander Abbas port and Iran said that the ship had been involved in an accident with an Iranian fishing ship. 

According to Iran the ship sent out a distress call and the British tanker ignored the call. 

New reports also show that the British ship was carrying no cargo when it was seized by the IRGC.

In a tweet, Hunt said: "Yesterday's action in Gulf show worrying signs Iran may be choosing a dangerous path of illegal and destabilizing behavior after Gibraltar's legal detention of oil bound for Syria."


"As I said yesterday our reaction will be considered but robust. We have been trying to find a way to resolve Grace1 issue but will ensure the safety of our shipping."

On July 4, the British Navy seized an Iranian oil tanker in Gibraltar. They suspected the ship to be smuggling oil to Syria which is in breach of EU sanctions. 

Hunt also tweeted his concern about a jailed British-Iranian aid worker, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliff. In the tweet, he said there has been no contact between her and her family after she was moved from a Tehran prison to a psychiatric ward in a hospital. 

"We'd hoped this meant she was getting medical treatment she needs but the fact that she has been cut off from contact with her family is giving us huge cause for concern," he tweeted. 

The aid worker is a project manager for the Thomson Reuters Foundation. She was arrested in 2016 at an airport in Tehran while she was heading back to Britain. She was arrested and convicted of plotting to overthrow Iran's establishment and was sentenced to five years in jail. 

Her family deny the charge. 

 Reuters contributed to this story


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