An Iranian flag was hoisted atop a seized oil tanker docked in Iran’s Bandar Abbas port, footage obtained by reporters from an Iranian news agency shows.
The British-flagged Stena Impero was seized by Iranian Revolutionary Guards in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday, because it had been involved in an accident. This is in apparent retaliation for the British capture of an Iranian tanker at Gibraltar two weeks earlier.
The Iranian capture of the ship in the global oil trade’s most important waterway was the latest escalation in three months of spiralling confrontation with the West that began when new, tighter U.S. sanctions took effect at the start of May.
Britain has called Iran’s capture of the Stena Impero in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday a “hostile act”.
The British government is expected to announce its next steps in a speech to parliament on Monday, but experts on the region say there are few obvious steps London can take at a time when the United States has already imposed the maximum possible economic sanctions, banning all Iranian oil exports worldwide.