Five boats, believed to be from Iran, tried to seize a British tanker in the Gulf but withdrew after a British warship warned them over radio, a U.S. defense official said
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Five boats, believed to be from Iran, tried to seize a British tanker in the Gulf but withdrew after a British warship warned them over radio, a U.S. defense official said https://t.co/76oOtMrAoq pic.twitter.com/aKgsldsfRW
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Five Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps gunboats tried to seize a British oil tanker in the Persian Gulf Wednesday but backed off after a British warship approached, a senior U.S. defense official told Fox News.
The British warship was said to have been less than 5 miles behind the tanker but soon intercepted the Iranian boats and threatened to open fire. A manned U.S. reconnaissance aircraft was above as well, the official said, adding that Iranian forces left without opening fire.
Navy Captain Bill Urban, spokesman for the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), said the military was aware of the reported actions. He added, “Threats to international freedom of navigation require an international solution. The world economy depends on the free flow of commerce, and it is incumbent on all nations to protect and preserve this lynchpin of global prosperity.”
The incident was the latest in a series of provocations between the Islamic Republic and the West. British forces last week seized an Iranian supertanker that officials believed was operating in violation of European Union sanctions. The British Royal Marines captured the vessel in Gibraltar after believing it was trying to provide crude oil to Syria, an ally of Iran.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned that Britain would face repercussions over the seizure.
Last month, Iran shot down a U.S. drone over the Strait of Hormuz, a vital waterway separating Iran from the United Arab Emirates.