Trump admin hits Iranian shipping network, airline with new sanctions
Audio emerges of moments before Iran seized British ship
Audio has emerged of a radio exchange between Iranian and British naval authorities before Iran's Revolutionary Guard seized a UK-flagged oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, according to CNN.
In the exchange, an Iranian vessel apparently tells a frigate with the British Royal Navy to "alter its course," telling the frigate it needs to inspect the Stena Impero for security purposes, according to the network.
The British vessel responds that under international law, the tanker "must not be impaired."
British junior defense minister Tobias Ellwood said Sunday the U.K. is considering several possible options in response to Iran, including possible economic sanctions, according to CNN.
"International law requires that the right of transit passage shall not be impeded, and therefore the Iranian action constitutes illegal interference," the UK said in a letter seen by CNN.
Iran's ambassador to the U.K., said on Twitter Sunday that factions within the U.K. government sought to use the incident to "escalate existing tensions."
"UK government should contain those domestic political forces who want to escalate existing tension between Iran and the UK well beyond the issue of ships," Hamid Baeidinejad tweeted. "This is quite dangerous and unwise at a sensitive time in the region."
In the meantime, the U.K. has called two emergency meetings of national security personnel and has cautioned ships with ties to the U.K.'s shipping industry to avoid the region, according to CNN.