Iran’s leader vows response to British ‘piracy’ over detained tanker

Iran’s top leader says his country will retaliate over the seizure of an Iranian tanker by British authorities.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei calls the seizure of the ship “piracy” in a televised speech Tuesday, saying: “God willing, the Islamic Republic and its committed forces will not leave this evil without a response.”

The Iranian supertanker, carrying 2.1 million barrels of light crude oil, was seized with the help of British Royal Marines earlier this month off Gibraltar.

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said Saturday that Britain will facilitate the release of the ship if Iran can provide guarantees the vessel will not breach European sanctions on oil shipments to Syria. Tensions have soared in the Persian Gulf over the past year as the Trump administration has ramped up sanctions on Iran after withdrawing from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, a move that led Tehran to return last month to enriching uranium beyond the 3.67% allowed under the deal.

— AP

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