17:20 GMT21 September 2020
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    DOHA (Sputnik) – Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir called on the international community to deter Iran after it seized a UK-flagged tanker in the Strait of Hormuz.

    “Any attack on the freedom of navigation is a violation of international law. Iran must realize that its acts of intercepting ships, including most recently the British ship, are completely unacceptable. The world community must take actions to deter such behavior,” al-Jubeir wrote on Sunday on his Twitter page.

    On Friday, the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) seized UK oil tanker Stena Impero in the Strait of Hormuz over what it described as a breach of international maritime regulations.

    The vessel with 23 crew members, including three Russian nationals, was guided to the port of Bandar Abbas. Although they have been out of contact, Iran claims they are safe while the tanker is in port.

    The seizure of the Stena Impero was condemned by a number of countries, including the United Kingdom, Germany and France.

    The incident comes after UK Marines on 4 July boarded and helped to detain an Iranian supertanker off Gibraltar on suspicion it was carrying oil to Syria in violation of EU sanctions. Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused London of piracy.

    The situation in the Middle East and in the Persian Gulf has deteriorated over the past few months. In May, several oil tankers were targeted by sabotage attacks off the United Arab Emirates' coast, and the United States blamed Iran for the incidents.

    In June, two more oil tankers were hit by explosions in the Strait of Hormuz. The United States again accused Iran of staging the attacks. Tehran has denied all accusations.

    The ongoing tit-for-tat comes after the United States in 2018 restored tough economic sanctions on Iran after suddenly withdrawing from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and ramped up its military presence in the area in response to an alleged threat from the Islamic republic.


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    Persian Gulf, Middle East, tanker, sanctions, US, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Adel Ahmed al-Jubeir
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