Wednesday 11 December 2019
News ID: 67061
Publish Date: 16 June 2019 - 21:34
TEHRAN (Dispatches) -- Iran has summoned the British ambassador to Tehran after London blamed it for attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, the Students News Agency ISNA reported.
"During the meeting with Iran's foreign ministry official, Iran strongly condemned the unfounded allegations and criticized Britain's unacceptable stance regarding the attacks in the Gulf of Oman," it said.
The ambassador was asked for an explanation and correction after Britain was the only nation to echo U.S. accusations, ISNA reported.
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt issued a statement on Friday blaming Iran and its Islamic Revolution Guards Corps for the attacks, saying no other state or non-state actor could have been responsible. Iran has denied any involvement.
The British ambassador on Sunday brazenly denied he was summoned by the Iranian foreign ministry.
"Interesting. And news to me," ambassador Rob Macaire said in a tweet a day after the Iranian foreign ministry said in a statement that it had summoned the envoy over his government's accusations.
"I asked for an urgent meeting with the Foreign Ministry yesterday and it was granted. No 'summons'. Of course if formally summoned I would always respond, as would all Ambassadors," Macaire wrote.
On Friday, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said London had concluded Iran was "almost certainly" responsible for Thursday's tanker attacks.
He was echoing remarks by U.S. President Donald Trump who said Thursday's attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman had Iran "written all over it".
Iran has denied any involvement in the twin attacks.
It dismissed Hunt's accusations as "false" and chided London for its "blind and precipitous alignment" with U.S. views, according to the foreign ministry.
The latest incident comes as ties between Tehran and London have been strained in recent months, namely over the fate of an Iranian woman jailed on sedition charges.
London’s move on Friday prompted the leader of the country’s main opposition party to question whether the government had evidence to back up its accusations.
"Without credible evidence about the tanker attacks, the government’s rhetoric will only increase the threat of war,” Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn wrote on Twitter.
"Britain should act to ease tensions in the Persian Gulf, not fuel a military escalation that began with U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement,” he said, referring to Washington’s withdrawal from the 2015 pact.
Hunt, who is one of the leading candidates to succeed British Prime Minister Theresa May after she announced she would step down, described Corbyn’s comments as "pathetic and predictable”.
"Why can he never bring himself to back British allies, British intelligence or British interests?,” Hunt said.

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