Iranians Say They Took Tanker To Retaliate for British Seizure
July 22, 2019 (EIRNS)—Officially, the rationale for the July 19 Iranian seizure of the British-flagged Stena Impero tanker remains the charge that it was operating in violation of maritime regulations. Nonetheless, a number of key Iranian political figures said bluntly on July 21 that the seizure was carried out, in fact, in retaliation for the British seizure of the Grace 1 tanker off Gibraltar on July 4. Ali Larijani, the speaker of the Iranian parliament, said explicitly in floor debate, that the seizure of the Stena Impero had been a direct response to the British seizure of the Grace 1.
“The British committed piracy, and we responded to it,” he said, though he apparently didn’t elaborate.
Iran’s semi-official Fardas Radio, in a Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty story, quoted Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei, spokesman of Iran’s Guardian Council, describing the British tanker’s seizure as a legal “reciprocal action.”