Early Saturday, Iran admitted it has sized a British-flagged oil tanker giving contradictory justifications for doing so including “violations of international rules,” and “having an accident with an Iranian ship.”
Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ speed boats reportedly approached Stena Impero, a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, and forced it to change its direction towards Iranian waters.
At first, Iran claimed it captured the ship for violating international maritime regulations, but a day after they claimed the capture was due to the ship’s collision with an Iranian fishing boat.
The vessel and its 23 crew are reportedly held in custody in the Iranian port of Bander Abbas for what Iranian officials called, "further investigations."
Iran's move has immediately increased the price of oil due to the crisis in World’s one of the most strategic waterway.
The incident has sparked international responses especially from UK officials. British Defence Secretary has called it a "hostile act." Other countries joined U.K. and strongly condemned it; among them were European JCPOA signatories, France and Germany.
India’s Foreign Ministry also expressed its concern and said, “It is actively seeking the release of its nationals among the crew.”
The US President Donald Trump has also condemned Tehran and said Iran is “nothing but trouble.” He announced on Friday that he would be in close contact with Britain on the issue.
Iranian top officials including the supreme leader and top IRGC commanders, as well as the Iranian president had threatened a retaliation against the UK over the two past weeks, since British Royal Marines stopped Iranian oil super tanker for violating European Union sanctions.
The Friday’s seizure escalated the existing tensions in the Gulf especially between Washington and Tehran.
Trump announced US warship USS Boxer shot downed an Iranian drone over the strait of Hurmuz, saying it was getting too close to the ship and its members; a claim Tehran declared it didn’t happen at all.