Iran tanker detention by UK will not be left without response: Defense minister

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Britain’s seizure of an Iranian tanker last week is “maritime piracy” that Iran will not leave without a response, Iran’s Defense Minister Amir Hatami said on Monday in a speech broadcast live on state television.

Hatami added that Britain’s detention of the Iranian tanker was a “threatening and incorrect action.”

“This action is a violation of international regulations and is a type of maritime piracy,” Hatami said.

“We will certainly not tolerate this type of maritime piracy and it will not be left without a response,” he warned.

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.

An Iranian foreign ministry spokesman said that Iran is taking political, legal and diplomatic actions regarding the tanker detained by the British. He added that the detained tanker was not traveling to Syria and that no Syrian port could dock the tanker.

Iran is not looking for war with any country, Iranian army chief Major General Abdolrahim Mousavi said on Monday, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran is not looking for war with any country, but it has mastered defense,” Mousavi said, adding that “as per the Supreme Leader’s order, ‘if they hit with one, they will be hit back with ten.’”

Mousavi warned that in the event of an attack on Iran, “the enemy will be countered with a wrecking response.”

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