The statement comes a week after Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that the seizure of an Iranian oil tanker is tantamount to “piracy” and “sets a dangerous precedent.”

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has warned that Tehran will respond in kind to a recent seizure of an Iranian tanker by UK Marines in Gibraltar.

“Evil Britain commits piracy and steals our ship […] and gives it a legal appearance. Iran and those who believe in our system will not leave such evil deeds unanswered”, Khamenei said during a meeting with Friday prayers leaders from across Iran on Tuesday.

He spoke after Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted last week that the seizure of an Iranian oil tanker is tantamount to “piracy” and “sets a dangerous precedent”.

“Iran is neither a member of the EU nor subject to any European oil embargo. Last I checked, EU was against extraterritoriality. UK’s unlawful seizure of a tanker with Iranian oil on behalf of #B_Team is piracy, pure and simple […] and must end now”, Zarif emphasised.

On 4 July, port and law enforcement agencies of the British overseas territory of Gibraltar, aided by the UK Royal Marines, seized the Grace 1, claiming that the supertanker was transferring crude oil to Syria from Iran in violation of EU sanctions.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, for his part, pointed out that “contrary to what the British authorities are claiming, the tanker was not headed for Syria” and that a Syrian port mentioned by the UK as the tanker’s destination would not be able to accommodate the vessel.

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