Iran calls seizure of British tanker a 'reciprocal action'

Iran reportedly called its seizure of a British oil tanker a "reciprocal action" after British assistance in the impounding an Iranian supertanker.  

Iran's Guardian Council spokesman Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei told the semi-official Fars news agency that the Friday seizure of the British tanker was a legal "reciprocal action," according to The Associated Press.

Guardian Council comments are often seen as Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s views, according to the wire service. 

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Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran's foreign minister, said Saturday on Twitter that the July 4 seizure of the Iranian supertanker was "piracy" and that Iran's action was done "to uphold [international] maritime rules."

 



But British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said in a tweet that his country's response to Iran's interception of the British ship will be "considered but robust" and added that the country "WILL ensure the safety of our shipping."

He tweeted that he spoke with Zarif to express "extreme disappointment."

"This has 2 be about actions not words if we are to find a way through," he wrote. "British shipping must & will be protected."

Hunt also called the seizure of the Iranian tanker "legal," saying its oil was headed toward Syria.  

 

The British Stena Impero ship was seized Frday in the Strait of Hormuz by Iranian forces. According to the AP, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard has released a video showing Guard boats surrounding the tanker and men rappelling onto it from a military helicopter.