July 8, 2019 / 6:09 AM / 8 days ago

Iran tanker detention by Britain was threatening act, minister says

Iranian Defence Minister Amir Hatami delivers a speech during the annual Moscow Conference on International Security (MCIS) in Moscow, Russia April 4, 2018. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin/Files

GENEVA (Reuters) - Britain’s detention of an Iranian tanker last week was a threatening and incorrect action, Iran’s Defence Minister Amir Hatami said on Monday in a speech broadcast live on state television.

Royal Marines seized the tanker on Thursday for trying to take oil to Syria in violation of European Union sanctions, a dramatic intervention that sparked Tehran’s fury and could escalate its confrontation with the West.

Gibraltar received permission from its supreme court to hold the tanker for 14 days, its government said on Friday, the day an Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander threatened to seize a British ship in retaliation.

Separately, Hatami said Iran’s downing of an unmanned American aircraft last month sent a message that the Islamic Republic would defend its borders. Washington said the drone was shot down over international waters.

Reporting by Babak Dehghanpisheh; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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