Iran tension: German lefty claims ‘illegal’ UK seizure of Tehran tanker caused crisis

Express – Iran and the United Kingdom have been engaged in an ongoing skirmish after the British Navy seized an Iranian tanker off the coast of Gibraltar earlier this month. Tehran retaliated against Britain by taking over British-flagged tanker Stena Impero while the cargo ship was transiting in the Strait of Hormuz. But German lefty activist Bijan Tavassoli insisted the UK was to blame for the growing international tension despite the Navy intervening over fears Iranian vessel Grace 1 planned to transport crude oil to Syria despite EU sanctions. 

Speaking to RT UK, Mr Tavassoli said: “With the illegal seizure on an Iranian tanker off the coast of Gibraltar, the British have broken not only with their previous position but also with centuries of precedent in international maritime law.

“What they did was illegal.”

Mr Tavassoli, a member of Germany’s The Left party, also said the UK shared the blame of the tension with the United States due to President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw his support for the Iran nuclear deal.

The treaty, which was originally brokered by former US President Barak Obama, was devised to monitor and limit Iran’s nuclear weapons programme.

The German activist continued: “This crisis has been, at its core, caused by the unilateral move of President Trump to break an international agreement and to illegally reimpose sanctions – it’s a hostile act akin to war.

“Sanctions such as the ones the US is currently imposing on Iran are directly implicated in the death of people in Iran every single day.

“The German, as well as the British position, and the position of really the whole international community has been to stand by those signed agreements with Iran to keep economic corporation alive and to try and salvage the nuclear deal.”

Mr Tavassoli also denounced proposals from Mr Trump to create an international alliance to fend off Iranian aggression.

He added: “It would be completely illegal and would continue to break down the corpus of international law we have built up and we’ve seen break down with the actions of the American and the British.

“You can’t just seize a ship. The British should return to international law by giving back the ship.”

Following the seizure of Grace 1, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) boarded the Stena Impero tanker in the Strait of Hormuz and transferred it to the Port of Bandar Abbas.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab ordered Tehran to release the cargo ship and all 23 crew members on board but his requests have so far been ignored.