close
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!
July 22, 2019

UK ‘looking at series of options’ over tanker seized by Iran: Hunt

Top Story

July 22, 2019

Ag AFP

LONDON: The government is looking at a “series of options” after Iranian forces seized a UK-flagged tanker amid escalating tensions in the Middle East.

Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood denied that the UK had taken its “eye off the ball” after the vessel was commandeered in the Omani waters in the economically significant Strait of Hormuz. It came after reports ministers are considering freezing assets of the Iranian regime in response to the diplomatic incident.

Meanwhile, audio footage has since emerged between Iranian authorities and HMS Montrose moments before the Stena Impero was seized. In the radio recording, the Iranian vessel can be heard saying: “If you obey, you will be safe. Alter your course immediately. I want to inspect the ship for security reasons.” HMS Montrose replied: “You must not impair, impede, obstruct or hamper the passage of the Stena Impero. Please confirm that you are not intending to violate international law by attempting to board.” Reports from Tehran state those on board the Stena Impero are safe and well.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he will unveil the diplomatic and economic measures on Monday (today) in response to the apprehension and detention of the Stena Imperto, according to the Sunday Telegraph. The paper said London may also seek the reimposing of UN and EU sanctions which were lifted against Iran in 2016 in connection to a deal on the country’s nuclear programme.

Asked if sanctions were off the table during Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday, Ellwood said: “Cobra (the government’s emergency committee) was taking place yesterday so we’re looking at the operational responsibilities from that but yes, we are going to be looking at a series of options.”

Shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon claimed the situation in Iran could be even worse than the war in Iraq. Burgon told the same programme: “If we end up in a conflict backed by Donald Trump then I think it would not only be comparable with Iraq, in fact it could be even worse than Iraq, and that should really scare everybody.”

He added: “We need sensible negotiations. We’ve got a really important part to play diplomatically in this. We can use our negotiating weight. I think that our government has international respect and this country has international respect in a way that Donald Trump doesn’t. I think we need to use that for the purposes of conflict resolution and for the purposes of making sure this doesn’t escalate out of control.” Chancellor Philip Hammond also denied claims that the government had taken its “eye off the ball” over the Iran crisis. He told BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show: “No, I don’t think the government has taken its eye off the ball — we’ve been very much engaged with both the Americans and our European partners in the response to Iran’s increasing defiance of the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) over the last few months.”

Asked if Britain could introduce new sanctions or freeze Iranian assets, Hammond said: “We’ve already got a wide raft of sanctions against Iran, particularly financial sanctions, so it’s not clear that there are immediate things we can do but we are of course looking at all the options.”

Topstory minus plus

Opinion minus plus

Newspost minus plus

Editorial minus plus

National minus plus

World minus plus

Sports minus plus

Business minus plus

Karachi minus plus

Lahore minus plus

Islamabad minus plus

Peshawar minus plus