Rouhani hints tanker swap with Britain is possible

Iranian President signals his country might be willing to release British-flagged oil tanker if Britain releases a detained Iranian tanker.

Elad Benari,

Hassan Rouhani
Hassan Rouhani
Reuters

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani appeared to signal Wednesday that his country might be willing to release a British-flagged oil tanker it seized— if Britain releases a detained Iranian tanker.

In a speech during a weekly cabinet session, Rouhani said, according to CNN, that Iran did not want to have continued "tensions with some European countries."

"And if they are committed to international frameworks and abandon some actions, including what they did in Gibraltar, they will receive a proper response from Iran," he added.

The UK and Gibraltar seized the Iran-flagged tanker Grace 1 in early July. British authorities said the tanker was attempting to transport oil to Syria, a violation of EU sanctions.

Iran, in turn, seized the British-flagged Stena Impero last Friday. However, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif denied the move was an act of revenge for the capture of the Iranian tanker, claiming Iran had taken measures against the ship to implement international law.

Rouhani on Wednesday praised Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, saying the seizure ensured security in the Gulf.

"The IRGC courageously seized the British ship because it had refused all the orders and warnings. They did a very accurate, professional and right job. and I believe that the whole world must be grateful to the Islamic Revolution Guards for ensuring the security of the Persian Gulf," he said, according to CNN.

Rouhani also stressed that Iran would not tolerate a "lack of discipline" in the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz, adding, "But we are not looking for a military tension; the actions we have taken so far have been in accordance with the violations of the opposite side, as the case of the intruding drone was proved.”




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