IRGC responded to British act of piracy: Larijani

MNA – Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani made a one-sentence remark referring to the Friday’s seizure of a British oil tanker in Strait of Hormuz.

“The British committed piracy and we responded to it,” Larijani said in Sunday’s open session of the Parliament.

The remark came as MP Hosseinali Haji Deligani criticized the Parliament for not issuing a statement in support of IRGC’s measure. “We expected that the Parliament would talk about the honorable measure of IRGC and Navy in seizing the English oil tanker.”

IRGC confiscated British-flagged oil tanker ‘Stena Impero’ on Friday over violation of international maritime rules.

The IRGC spokesman, Brigadier General Ramezan Sharif said on Saturday that the British oil tanker was being escorted by the British Royal Navy and it was seized after ignoring international maritime regulations by sailing into the Strait of Hormuz in the wrong direction, increasing the risk of collision with other vessels.

British tanker was confiscated by the Revolutionary Guards at the request of the southern province of Hormozgan Ports and Maritime Organization, he said, adding that the tanker had switched off its transponder in violations of international maritime regulations, using the exit lane to enter into the Strait of Hormuz instead of moving towards the entrance of the Persian Gulf, increasing the risk of accident.

Earlier on Saturday, Allah-Morad Afifipoor, head of Ports and Maritime Organization in southern Hormozgan Province, said the 30,000-tonne UK-flagged Stena Impero tanker had “collided with a fishing boat on its route and, according to law, after an accident, it is necessary that the causes be investigated.”

Following the collision, those on board the fishing boat “contacted the British vessel but didn’t receive any response,” so they informed the Hormozgan maritime organization, “according to the legal procedures,” he added.

This seizure came as British Royal Marines in Gibraltar stormed the Iran-operated 300,000-tonne Grace 1 and detained it on July 4, accusing it of carrying oil to Syria in possible violation of the European Union’s sanctions on the Arab country. Iran condemned the move as “piracy” and summoned Britain’s ambassador in protest over it, highlighting that neither the tanker was headed to Syria, nor Iran is a member an EU member and subject to any European oil embargo.

“Unlike the piracy in the Strait of Gibraltar, our action in the Persian Gulf is to uphold international maritime rules,” wrote Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif in a tweet on Saturday.