On 19 July, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) seized the UK-flagged Stena Impero oil tanker, citing the vessel’s alleged violation of maritime laws.
The semi-official Iranian news agency Tasnim has released a video allegedly showing Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) issuing a warning to a British warship during the IRGC’s seizure of the UK-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero earlier this month.
“Don’t put your lives in danger. The oil tanker is under our control. You are ordered not to interfere in our operation”, the IRGC allegedly said in the video.
A voice with a British accent is heard replying that “this is British warship F236” and that the warship is “in the vicinity of an internationally recognized strait with a merchant vessel […] conducting transit passage”.
The video follows the IRGC detaining the Stena Impero on 19 July over alleged violations of maritime laws after the vessel reportedly ignored warnings, switched off its positioning device, and collided with an Iranian fishing boat.
Although Tehran earlier warned that it may detain a British vessel over a conflict with London regarding previous seizure of the Iranian supertanker Grace 1, Iran’s officials insisted that the Stena Impero’s arrest was not a “retaliation”.
UK Royal Marines detained the Grace 1 with Iranian oil on board in the Strait of Gibraltar on 4 July suspecting the vessel of sailing for Syria and thus violating EU sanctions against the country.
Tehran denies that the oil was destined for Syria and accuses the UK of endangering trade and the freedom of navigation with the illegal arrest of the tanker.