ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Three Iranian ships attempted to block the passage of a British oil tanker in Strait of Hormuz, the British government said on Thursday.
“Contrary to international law, three Iranian vessels attempted to impede the passage of a commercial vessel, British Heritage, through the Strait of Hormuz,” a British government statement said of the incident, which took place on Wednesday.
“[The UK's Royal Navy frigate] HMS Montrose was forced to position herself between the Iranian vessels and British Heritage and issue verbal warnings to the Iranian vessels, which then turned away. We are concerned by this action and continue to urge the Iranian authorities to de-escalate the situation in the region,” the statement added.
Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) denied that it attempted to stop the British tanker, the semi-official Fars news agency reported on Thursday.
The incident comes less than a week after British Royal Marines seized an Iranian oil tanker, suspicious it was carrying oil to Syria.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani warned earlier on Wednesday that the UK would “witness the consequences”, according to Rouhani’s press office.
“I tell the British that they are the initiator of insecurity and you will understand its consequences later,” the Iranian president said during a cabinet session.
Tensions in Gulf waters have escalated in the past few weeks, namely between Washington and Tehran, turning both sides to somewhat of a military standoff after Iran shot down an American drone over the Strait of Hormuz.
Editing by Nadia Riva