Rouhani: IRGC seizure of UK-flagged tanker ‘powerful, precise and professional’

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The seizure of the British-flagged tanker by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) was “powerful, precise and professional,” Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday.

The world should be thankful that the IRGC is preserving the security of the Strait of Hormuz, he added.

Rouhani said that Iran has been and remains the protector of Bab al-Mandeb Strait on the southwest of the Arabian Peninsula.

Iran is ready for “just” negotiations but not if they mean surrender, Rouhani said, without saying what talks he had in mind.

If Britain steps away from the wrong actions in Gibraltar, they will receive an appropriate answer from Iran, the Iranian president said.

Rouhani seemed to be referring to possible negotiations with the United States. US President Donald Trump withdrew from a landmark 2015 nuclear deal with Iran last year but has said he is willing to hold talks with Iran.

“As long as I have the responsibility for the executive duties of the country, we are completely ready for just, legal and honest negotiations to solve the problems,” Rouhani said, according to his official website.

“But at the same time we are not ready to sit at the table of surrender under the name of negotiations,” he added.

Iran’s reduction of commitments under the nuclear deal is temporary and can return to the previous situation if other parties uphold their commitments under the deal, Rouhani said.

There are some countries who are acting as mediators to facilitate dialogue about the nuclear deal, Rouhani said.

If negotiations with remaining signatories of nuclear deal do not reach a result, Iran will take a third step in reducing their commitments under the deal at the end of a 60-day period, he added.

Rouhani said that Iran is not looking with European countries.

If the Americans violate Iranian airspace again with another drone, then they will receive the same response, the Iranian president also said on Wednesday.

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