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'We Will Not Give an Inch Against the English': Iranian MP Vows Legal Response to Tanker Seizure

© AP Photo / Marcos MorenoA Royal Marines vessel sails toward the Grace 1 super tanker in the British territory of Gibraltar, Thursday, July 4, 2019
A Royal Marines vessel sails toward the Grace 1 super tanker in the British territory of Gibraltar, Thursday, July 4, 2019 - Sputnik International
The detention of a supertanker laden with Iranian oil off the coast of Gibraltar by UK Royal Marines on 4 July has caused tensions between the two countries to skyrocket, with London deploying warships to the Persian Gulf amid claims that Tehran has attempted to seize a British oil tanker. Iran has denied the claims and accused the UK of "piracy."

Iran's parliament is considering an appropriate response to the British seizure of the Grace 1 supertanker and will adopt a formal decision on the matter next week, Mohammad Reza Pour-Ebrahimi, lawmaker and senior member of the parliament's economic committee, has announced.

"We will not give an inch against the English's measure," the lawmaker said, speaking to Mehr News on Sunday.

According to the lawmaker, the tanker seizure was only "the continuation of the English's animosity against the Iranian nation both before and after the Revolution [of 1979]. This measure will not be left unanswered," he said.

Pour-Ebrahimi did not go into detail on what specific steps Iran could take, but said that "England will pay huge costs for its action."

It's not clear whether the lawmaker referred to the UK as 'England' deliberately as opposed to Britain or the United Kingdom, or whether it was a feature of Mehr News' translation.

Tanker Tensions

On Saturday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif spoke to his UK counterpart Jeremy Hunt, reiterating Iran's demands that the UK release the Grace 1 tanker and saying that Iran would continue to export oil under any circumstances. Earlier, Hunt tweeted that he had told Zarif that London would "facilitate release" of the tanker if provided guarantees that the tanker would not go to Syria.

British Royal Marines seized the Grace 1 off Gibraltar last week, accusing Iran of trying to smuggle the oil to Syria, in contravention of European Union sanctions against the war-torn country. Iranian officials called the seizure an illegal "form of piracy," and said the tanker was not headed to Syria anyway.

The tanker remains docked at Gibraltar, although the crew of the ship was released Friday without charge.

Also Friday, UK media reported that the Royal Navy would be stepping up its patrols in the Persian Gulf by deploying a second warship to the region amid claims that Iranian forces had tried to seize British oil tankers traveling through the waterway. Iranian authorities have flatly denied the claims.

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