Mon, 22 Jul 2019

Iranian President Hassan Rohani has said that Britain will face 'consequences' over the seizure of an Iranian supertanker last week and said Tehran's increase in uranium enrichment was for peaceful aims, according to Iranian media reports on July 10.

Rohani was quoted by the official IRNA news agency as calling the seizure 'mean and wrong' during a Cabinet meeting.

British Royal Marines boarded the supertanker, Grace 1, off the coast of Gibraltar on July 4 and seized it on suspicion that it was breaking sanctions by taking oil to Syria.

Iran has demanded the immediate release of the oil tanker, while an Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps commander threatened on July 5 to seize a British ship in retaliation.

'You are an initiator of insecurity and you will understand its consequences,' Rohani warned the British government in remarks carried by state television, calling for the 'full security' of international shipping lanes.

The tanker's detention comes as tensions between the United States and Iran are on the rise over the unraveling of a landmark nuclear deal, which President Donald Trump withdrew from last year while also restoring heavy sanctions on Tehran, thus deepening the country's economic crisis.

In recent weeks, Iran has begun to openly breach limits on uranium enrichment set by a 2015 agreement between Tehran and world powers in order to pressure European signatories to salvage it.

But Rohani said on July 10 that Iran's decision to increase uranium enrichment would produce fuel for power plants and serve other peaceful aims, and that it was within the framework of the deal.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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