Iran: UK will face 'consequences' for tanker's seizure

Iran: UK will face 'consequences' for tanker's seizure
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Iran's president reportedly threatened the United Kingdom with "consequences" on Wednesday over the seizure of an Iranian supertanker due to British concerns that the ship was violating international sanctions.

Hassan Rouhani said on state television that British authorities should allow "safe" passage of its ships through the Strait of Gibraltar, but did not directly address criticism that oil carried by the seized tanker was allegedly bound for Syria, according to Reuters.

“You [Britain] are the initiator of insecurity and you will realize the consequences later,” Rouhani said, the news service noted.

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“Now you are so hopeless that, when one of your tankers wants to move in the region, you have to bring your frigates because you are scared. Then why do you commit such acts? You should instead allow navigation to be safe,” the Iranian leader added.

Iran is a top ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad, who remains sanctioned by the U.S. and other governments over the ongoing civil war in his nation, which has devastated the country and left millions as refugees and hundreds of thousands dead.

Rouhani's statement comes amid weeks of tensions with the Trump administration as well as ongoing negotiations with the U.K. and other European countries over Iran's commitment to a 2015 nuclear agreement that provided sanctions relief in exchange for a halt to Tehran's nuclear fuel enrichment.

Iran has recently exceeded fuel enrichment standards set by the agreement, citing the U.S.'s withdrawal from the deal and European leaders' inability to provide Tehran with sufficient economic relief from damaging U.S. sanctions.

The U.S. ordered thousands of troops as well as a carrier strike group to the area in recent weeks in order to shore up defenses around U.S. interests in the region, though President TrumpDonald John TrumpSupreme Court comes to Trump's aid on immigration Trump is failing on trade policy Trump holds call with Netanyahu to discuss possible US-Israel defense treaty MORE has maintained that he opposes war with Iran.