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    Iranian oil tanker Grace 1 sits anchored after it was seized earlier this month by British Royal Marines off the coast of the British Mediterranean territory on suspicion of violating sanctions against Syria, in the Strait of Gibraltar, southern Spain July 20, 2019

    British Detention of Iranian Oil Tanker Reeks of 'Colonial Times', Top Cleric Says

    Middle East
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    UK authorities in Gibraltar seized Iran’s Grace 1 oil tanker and detained some members of its crew on 4 July over suspicions that it was circumventing EU sanctions against Syria. Tehran denies these allegations and has slammed London for endangering freedom of navigation.

    The provisional leader of Iran’s Friday prayers, Ahmad Khatami, has slammed the recent actions that the UK has taken against the Islamic Republic, saying that they are reminiscent of the era of British colonialism, when the country actively meddled in Iran's internal affairs. The cleric stated that the UK, which he called a "cunning, colonial fox", has joined forces with the US in the latter's "unjust sanctions against the Iranian nation".

    "What Britain has done is reminiscent of the crimes committed by the old fox", he said.

    Khatami praised Iran's decision to scale back on some of its commitments under the nuclear deal and called for the next step to be more significant if the EU fails to make its mechanism, designed to circumvent American sanctions against Iran, effective.

    "The US and Europe have breached the [nuclear deal] and they rudely ask Iran to remain committed to the nuclear deal; the right thing is what the Iranian government has done, that is scaling down its nuclear deal [commitments] and this is what the Iranians want", he said.

    British authorities in Gibraltar seized the Grace 1 tanker, which was carrying Iranian oil, on 4 July after being tipped off by the US that the cargo was allegedly destined for Syria in violation of EU sanctions. Tehran has denied this claim and demanded the release of the tanker, calling its detention an act of piracy.

    Iranian authorities later seized a British tanker over a violation of maritime laws, but noted that this was not done in "retaliation" for the Grace 1.


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    British colonialism, British Empire, UK, Iran
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