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Iran seizes 2 UK tankers, claims US official

Iran seizes 2 UK tankers, claims US official

Washington: Iran has seized two British Oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz for violating international regulation, said a United States official on Friday.
Earlier, Iran announced that it has seized a British tanker Stena Impero for “violating international regulations,” CNN cited Iran’s state-run Press TV.
Meanwhile, the United Kingdom has urgently sought information about its tanker.

“We are urgently seeking further information and assessing the situation following reports of an incident in the Gulf,” UK Government spokesperson the spokesperson said.

However, within an hour of confirmation about the seizure of one Stena Impero, US official has claimed that Iran has also seized a second tanker, the Liberian-flagged MV Masdar.

However, the White House has only confirmed the seizure of only one tanker.

“We are aware of reports that Iranian forces seized a British oil tanker,” national security council spokesman Garrett Marquis said in a statement.
This is a second time in two months that Iran has attempted to seize a British oil tanker. Last time, armed Iranian boats unsuccessfully tried to seize a British oil tanker in the Persian Gulf.

Early this month, British Royal Marines on Thursday morning (local time) had seized a supertanker on the suspicion that it was smuggling Iranian crude oil to Syria.

This comes amid strained relations and escalating tensions between Iran and the United States.

The tensions began when the US pulled from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) last year, blaming Tehran for supporting state-sponsored terrorism and conflicts.

Following which, Washington increased its drumbeat of aggression and re-imposed sanctions on Tehran.

The pact was signed by five countries — the US, the UK, Russia, China and Germany, and the European Union — with an aim to limiting Iran’s civilian energy programme, thereby preventing it from developing nuclear weapons at some point in the future, in exchange for relief from sanctions that were crippling the country’s economy.

A year after the US pulled out of the deal, Iran announced its partial withdrawal from the agreement.

While Tehran is yet to withdraw fully from the accord, it recently announced its decision to increase nuclear enrichment in response to the new US sanctions.

Recently, the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran recently announced that the country has officially surpassed the 3.67 per cent uranium enrichment limit set under the 2015 pact and could consider increasing the stockpile to 20 per cent in the future.

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