Friday, December 6, 2019
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Iran ignores calls to free British-flagged tanker

Iran ignored mounting European appeals on Saturday to release a British-flagged tanker as London denounced a “dangerous move” and summoned a senior diplomat of the Islamic republic.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said it seized the Stena Impero on Friday for breaking “international maritime rules” in the Strait of Hormuz, a chokepoint for about a third of the world’s sea-borne oil.
The oil tanker was impounded off Bandar Abbas port for allegedly failing to respond to distress calls and turning off its transponder after colliding with a fishing vessel, authorities said, adding an investigation had been launched.
It was one of two ships Britain said Iran seized in the Gulf, but the UK owner of the Liberian-flagged Mesdar said it was released after being boarded by armed personnel.
In London, the Foreign Office said Saturday it had summoned Iran’s charge d’affaires.
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the seizure of the ship showed “worrying signs Iran may be choosing a dangerous path of illegal and destabilising behaviour”.
Germany and France urged Iran to release the tanker”.
However, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Iran’s actions were taken to “uphold” international maritime rules.