TEHRAN (Dispatches) – Iran on Sunday urged the UK to contain "domestic political forces" which wanted to escalate tension between the two countries after the capture of a British-flagged tanker in the Persian Gulf.
"UK government should contain those domestic political forces who want to escalate existing tension between Iran and the UK well beyond the issue of ships. This is quite dangerous and unwise at a sensitive time in the region," Iranian Ambassador to London Hamid Baeidinejad tweeted.
Britain has called Iran’s capture of the Stena Impero on Friday a "hostile act”, with a UK official declining to rule out sanctions in response to the move which came after British Royal Marines seized an Iranian oil supertanker off Gibraltar.
Baeidinejad warned that Iran "is firm and ready for different scenarios”.
Iran’s top diplomat said only "prudence and foresight” could alleviate tensions between his country and Britain.
"Having failed to lure @realDonaldTrump into War of the Century, and fearing collapse of his #B_Team, @AmbJohnBolton is turning his venom against the UK in hopes of dragging it into a quagmire,” Muhammad Javad Zarif said on Twitter.
"Only prudence and foresight can thwart such ploys.”
Tehran for weeks has vowed to retaliate for the seizure of its Grace 1 oil tanker by British forces.
Iranian lawmakers threw their weight behind the IRGC. As of Sunday noon, 160 members of Iran’s parliament had signed up on a declaration of support for the Friday seizure.
Tasnim news agency reported that the declaration of support was collecting more signatures as the day went by.
The MPs said that recent weeks had witnessed "suspicious acts of sabotage” in the region as well as the illegal seizure of the Iranian tanker by the UK government.
In the latest suspicious act, they said, the UK-flagged tanker had violated maritime rules in the Strait of Hormuz.
"It seems that self-proclaimed world powers are preparing to portray regional waters as unsafe for the transfer of the world’s required energy; thus, we deem alertness and decisiveness in confronting... violations an inherent duty of the government,” the lawmakers said. "We support the IRGC’s apt and decisive move to seize the offending British ship.”
Parliament speaker Ali Larijani also hailed the IRGC. "The Britons committed robbery, and the IRGC gave them the response that fitted them," he said.
The IRGC impounded Stena Impero on June 19 "for failing to respect international maritime rules” as it was passing through the Strait of Hormuz en route to Saudi Arabia.
It came 15 days after British naval forces unlawfully seized Iranian-owned supertanker Grace 1 and its cargo of 2.1 million barrels of oil in the Strait of Gibraltar.
The head of the Ports and Maritime Organization in Hormozgan Province said on Sunday the crew of the tanker seized by Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) are all safe.
"All 23 crew members aboard the ship are safe and in good health in Bandar Abbas port,” Allahmorad Afifipour said.
Afifipour said the seized tanker "risked maritime safety” in the Strait of Hormuz, through which almost a fifth of the world’s annual oil consumption passes.
He said the fate of the tanker depends on the cooperation of its crew with an investigation.
"We are required by regulations to investigate the issue ... the duration of the investigation depends on the level of cooperation by the involved parties,” said Afifipour.
Iran has opened an investigation into the Stena Impero after its collision with an Iranian fishing boat.
The fishermen had issued a distress call and contacted the port authority when it went unanswered, said Afifipour, quoted by Fars news agency.