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Jul 12, 2019

Tension escalates over alleged attempt by Iranian boats to seize UK's oil tanker

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In West Asia, tension escalated over claims and counter-claims being made on the alleged attempt by Iranian boats to seize United Kingdom's oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz. Iran has denied any such move.

Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps', IRGC Navy dismissed the media claims that its speed boats have been trying to approach a UK oil tanker, according to Iran's official news agency, IRNA. 

In a statement yesterday, IRGC said, there has been no encounters took place between the Iranian Navy and any foreign vessels, including the British ones, in the Persian Gulf over the past 24 hours. It added that the IRGC is fully ready and able to act with precision and power if it receives an order to seize any foreign ship.

There were media reports quoting the US Department of Defence claiming that five IRGC speed boats had attempted to stop a British oil tanker sailing through the Strait of Hormuz. It was also reported that boats had to retreat after the Royal Navy frigate, HMS ‘Monrose’ intervened. Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also dismissed the western officials' claims that the IRGC Navy attempted to seize a British oil tanker in the Persian Gulf.

Meanwhile, the United States and its allies are discussing plans to provide naval escorts for oil tankers through the Gulf. General Mark Milley, nominated to become the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Senate hearing yesterday that the US has a crucial role in enforcing freedom of navigation in the Gulf.

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