Tuesday 23 July 2019
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The News - 12 days ago

Britain says it fended off Iranian bid to block its oil tanker

LONDON: Three Iranian vessels tried to block a tanker passing through the Strait of Hormuz but backed off when confronted by a Royal Navy warship, the British government said on Thursday, raising the stakes in a test of nerves between Tehran and the West. Britain urged Iran to de-escalate the situation in the region after the BritishHeritage oil tanker operated by BP (BP.L) was approached. The incident took place exactly a week after British Royal Marines seized an Iranian tanker, which London said was violating sanctions by bringing oil to Syria. HMS Montrose was forced to position herself between the Iranian vessels and British Heritage and issue verbal warnings to the Iranian vessels, which then turned away, a British government spokesman said in a statement. Iran s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif dismissed as worthless the British allegation that Iran had sought to block the ship.The incident followed President Donald Trump s warning he would soon substantially increase U.S. sanctions on Iran as part of a drive to curb Iran s nuclear program and force Tehran to change its regional behavior.

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