Iran has summoned the UK ambassador after British marines seized a supertanker in the Strait of Gibraltar.
The oil tanker was allegedly carrying crude to fuel-starved Syria in alleged defiance of EU sanctions.
The move comes as the US attempts to stifle Iranian oil trade to zero.
Press TV reports: Rob Macaire was summoned to the ministry on Thursday, hours after reports emerged that the vessel had been boarded by British Royal Marines and impounded.
Later in the day, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Moussavi took part in an interview with the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB)’s News Network, saying, “We declared to the ambassador that this move amounts to strange unconventionality, because the sanctions that they have announced are not based on the Security Council [resolutions] and the Islamic Republic of Iran does not accept this measure (seizure of the tanker).”
The Iranian diplomat further stated that the Spanish Foreign Ministry has confirmed that the move was made at the request of the US and that the seizure amounted to “implementation of a type of extraterritorial sanctions despite the fact that the European Union has invariably been against such bans.”
Moussavi said that Iran denounces the seizure as “a destructive step,” which contributes to further escalation in regional tensions.
Citing a Spanish source, France 24 reported earlier that the tanker had been seized by Britain at the US request.
Later in the day, acting Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said Gibraltar detained the supertanker Grace 1 after a request by the United States to Britain.
Borrell was quoted by Reuters as saying that Spain was looking into the seizure of the ship and how it may affect Spanish sovereignty as it appears to have happened in Spanish waters.
Spain does not recognize the waters around Gibraltar as British.
Britain’s Foreign Office did not respond to a request for comment.