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Iran's Defense Minister Says Impounding An Oil tanker By UK 'Will Not Go Unanswered'

File photo - Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami.

Iran’s defense minister has said Monday that impounding an Iranian oil tanker at Gibraltar is “a sort of sea piracy” and “will not be tolerated and will not go unanswered”.

General Amir Hatami added that this action “is against international norms and is a sort of piracy on the high seas”.

The tanker Grace 1 was stopped by Gibraltar authorities with the assistance of Royal Marines on July 4 in territorial waters that Spain claims fall within its jurisdiction. It is said to be carrying around two million barrels of fuel oil to a refinery in Syria, which is under European Union sanctions.

Previously two influential figures in the ruling establishment had also threatened retaliation against Britain.

At the same time, the spokesman of Iran’s foreign ministry, Abbas Moussavi sounded a less bellicose note, saying, “We are pursuing approaches based on diplomacy, law and political discussions for solving this issue and we hope to achieve results on this path”.

Iran’s deputy minister Abbas Araqchi (Araghchi) had claimed on Sunday that the destination of the tanker was not Syria and it was stopped when on international waters.