Britain Will Join US in Gulf Naval Mission

Iran seizes foreign vessel smuggling fuel

Rouhani said the United States made a mistake when it thought "everything will be over" for Iran after "some planned a street riot" in December 2017. Washington has since claimed that a USA warship downed an Iranian drone in the strait.

Even so, the impounding of the ship could escalate the tensions that have flared in the region's waters as Iran resists USA sanctions that are crippling its all-important oil exports and hits back after one of its ships was seized July 4 near Gibraltar.

In the first place, U.S. and its allies are after increasing economic pressure on Iranian people to rise their dissatisfaction at the government, he said, adding that enemies have failed in this plot so far and so they are trying to hamper the country's economic growth.

The seizures have been seen as retaliation after British troops were involved in an operation on July 4 to capture the tanker Grace 1, which was carrying Iranian oil, off the British territory of Gibraltar.

"A strait for a strait".

"Strait for strait. It can not be that the Strait of Hormuz to be free for you and the Strait of Gibraltar not to be free for us".

On Wednesday, the US Treasury Division stated it was imposing sanctions on Zarif for appearing on behalf of Iranian Supreme Chief Ayatollah Ali Khamenei - who can be topic to not too long ago imposed US sanctions.

The seizure marked the third such incident involving a commercial vessel in recent weeks - and the second accused of smuggling fuel.

The latest seizure is not thought to be connected to Iran's "state piracy" in the Gulf, in which large foreign vessels have been harassed and the British tanker Stena Impero was boarded and forced to divert to an Iranian port.

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The UK government confirmed last month that it would provide a Royal Navy escort, from warships HMS Duncan and HMS Montrose, for British-flagged ships passing through the strait. The question is whether the United Kingdom move gives its European allies, who had previously all but ruled out working with the the region, cover to join the mission.

Last month Britain proposed a European-led maritime protection force, but European countries have been reluctant to join.

Tensions have soared since the Trump administration began stepping up a campaign of "maximum pressure" against Iran. Should the European allies take a stronger stance in support of peaceful transit in the Strait of Hormuz, the United States might be more likely to de-escalate military surveillance.

The US has blamed Iran for two separate attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman in May and June - an allegation Tehran has denied.

Tehran and Washington have been locked in a battle of nerves since Could 2018 when President Donald Trump withdrew from a landmark 2015 deal putting limits on Iran's nuclear programme.

Guards boats were patrolling the Gulf to control traffic and detect illicit trade, it said, without identifying the seized vessel.

Iran has also been locked in a high-seas standoff with USA ally Britain since Royal Marines helped to seize a tanker carrying Iranian oil off the British overseas territory of Gibraltar on July 4.

Tehran has told the European signatories of the 2015 nuclear deal that it would further reduce its compliance with the accord if they don't provide relief from USA sanctions that have crippled the oil-rich nation's economy.

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