Iran, UK tanker issues need to be tackled separately: envoy

MNA – Iranian ambassador to London, Hamid Baeidinejad, told Sky News that the two detained Iranian and British tankers are “two separate issues that need to be tackled separately.”

On July 4, the UK seized a supertanker carrying Iranian oil near Gibraltar, alleging that it was violating unilateral European Union sanctions by carrying crude for Syria. Iran refuted the claim that the ship was bound for Syria, and condemned the seizure as piracy.

Tehran later impounded a British-flagged ship, Stena Impero, in the Strait of Hormuz for failing to stop after hitting an Iranian fishing boat, a violation of international maritime rules.

Speaking to Sky News on Tuesday, Iranian ambassador to London, Hamid Baeidinejad, said “Of course one issue can help resolution of another issue but these are two separate issues that need to be tackled separately.”

He also said, “We’re very keen to see the UK is doing all the measures necessary to release as soon as possible the Grace 1.”

Explaining the reason behind the seizure of Stena Impero, Baeidinejad said “That ship collided with a fishing boat in the area…the fishing boat was damaged and there have been injuries.”

He also said Stena Impero had “entered the Strait of Hormuz from the exit lane, which is against the law.”

“We have tension in the region because of the US policies – that ship should have been very careful not to violate any laws.”

Baeidinejad then stressed that contrary to the UK’s claims, Grace 1 was not heading for Syria.

“It’s very clear, we have announced it’s not going to a sanction entity…we’re not entitled to say what is the destination of the ship.”

The Iranian ambassador had said in a tweet on Monday that it would be “Impossible to advance a quid pro quo or barter exchange of detained UK and Iranian ships”, adding “UK has illegally detained the ship carrying Iranian oil while the British ship is detained for violating some key safety/security regulations in Hormuz Strait.”