A foreign ministry spokesman told state news agency on Friday, Iran asks Britain to immediately release an oil tanker that British Royal Marines seized last week. Britain seized the marine on suspicion it was breaking sanctions by taking oil to Syria.

The spokesman, Abbas Mousavi said, “This is a dangerous game and has consequences … the legal pretexts for the capture are not valid … the release of the tanker is in all countries’ interest.”

However, Iran has already warned that it will take reciprocal steps if the tanker is not released. On Thursday, Britain said three Iranian vessels attempted to block a British-owned tanker passing through the Strait of Hormuz, which controls the flow of Middle East oil to the world, but took back when challenged by a Royal Navy warship.

Iran has denied the charges. The relation between Iran and the West has worsened after Britain seized the tanker and London said the British Heritage, operated by oil company BP, had been approached in the strait between Iran and the Arabian peninsula.

Claiming that Britain has seized the tanker under U.S  pressure, Mousavi said, “Such illegal measures could increase tensions in the Persian Gulf.” From the beginning of May, Washington directed all countries and companies to stop importing Iranian oil or else be banished from the global financial system.

Iran as a counteraction of Washington’s mounting pressure has decreased its commitments to the nuclear pact, in resistance of a warning by European countries. Iran’s longtime enemy, United States blames Tehran for a series of attacks on shipping in the world’s most important oil artery. Tehran has denied all the accusations.

The seizure of the Iranian tanker comes amid that inflamed situation between the US and Iran in recent weeks. Washington has deployed additional troops to the region to counter “Iranian threats”. Mousavi further claimed, “Foreign powers should leave the region because Iran and other regional countries are capable of securing the regional security.” 

“…Iran has repeatedly expressed its readiness to hold talks with its neighbors to resolve disputes,” he added.

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