On Wednesday, a total of five boats believed to belong to the Iranian government approached UK oil tanker British Heritage in the Strait of Hormuz, only to withdraw after receiving a warning from the accompanying Royal Navy warship HMS Montrose, a US Department of Defense official told Reuters.
Five armed boats said to belong to the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps attempted to seize the British Heritage oil tanker travelling in the Persian Gulf by requesting that the vessel stop in Iranian waters, according to Reuters. 

The allegedly Iranian boats in question are said to have retreated after receiving a warning from the Montrose, a UK Royal Navy frigate accompanying the oil tanker. 

Britain’s Ministry of Defence gave no immediate comment on the issue when contacted by Reuters. 

The Montrose, which is fitted with 30-millimeter deck guns, is said to have trained said guns on the Iranian boats and issued a verbal warning, reported CNN Wednesday, citing two US officials with direct knowledge of the interaction. 

Earlier Wednesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani mocked London’s decision to send a naval escort for its tanker, arguing that it was their previous acts of aggression that had endangered the safety of navigation. 

“Now you are so hopeless that when one of your tankers wants to move in the region, you have to bring your frigates [to escort it] because you are scared. Then why do you commit such acts [of seizure]? You should instead allow navigation to be safe,” the president noted. 

Tensions between US allies and Iran have remained high since the June incident in which the US blamed Tehran for attacking two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. The Iranian government has categorically denied such claims, saying the accusations were presented as a pretext for armed conflict amid Washington’s increasingly combative rhetoric. 

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