Iran has the right to seize a British ship in retaliation for the capture of an Iranian supertanker in Gibraltar by British Royal Marines, former Revolutionary Guard commander Mohsen Rezaee, wrote on social media account on late Friday.
“If Britain does not release the Iranian oil tanker, it is the duty of Iranian authorities to seize a British oil tanker,” he said on Twitter.
Gibraltar port and law enforcement agencies, aided by the British marines, detained the Grace 1 supertanker early Thursday morning, announced the territory's Chief Minister Fabian Picardo.
He said that they have the reason to believe that Grace 1 was carrying its shipment of crude oil to the Banyas oil refinery in Syria, which under EU law would represent a breach of sanctions placed under the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
Upon the news, U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton hailed the British move as “excellent news.”
“America & our allies will continue to prevent regimes in Tehran & Damascus from profiting off this illicit trade,” Bolton said on Twitter.
Following the incident, Tehran summoned British Ambassador, Rob Macaire, to the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs over the "illegal" seizure of the oil tanker, calling it "piracy," according to international media outlets. The UK says that it is enforcing the EU’s sanctions regime against Syria.
Reporting by Muhammed Kurşun in Tehran
Writing by Gökçe Küçük