Tensions between UK and Iran rise after oil tanker attack
LONDON (AP) — Britain and Iran issued warnings to each other’s diplomats Monday as tensions escalated over a recent attack on an oil tanker in the Arabian Sea.
Britain began the day by summoning Iran’s ambassador, Mohsen Baharvand, to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office in response to Thursday’s drone strike on the MV Mercer Street, which killed a British national and a Romanian.
Britain insisted in a statement that Iran must “immediately cease actions that risk international peace and security.″
Prime Minister Boris Johnson later told reporters that Iran should “face up to the consequences of what they have done.″
“This was clearly an unacceptable and outrageous attack on commercial shipping, a U.K. national died,″ he said. “It is absolutely vital that Iran and every other country respects the freedoms of navigation around the world, and the U.K. will continue to insist on that.”
The United States, Britain and Israel have blamed Iran for the fatal attack, though Iran denies involvement.
Calling it an “unlawful and callous attack,” British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said Sunday that the U.K. and its allies were planning a coordinated response.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry on Monday summoned the British charge d’affaires in Tehran to protest Raab’s comments. Iran rejected and strongly condemned these “hasty, contradictory and unsubstantiated statements,” the ministry said.
Iran will defend itself with a timely, appropriate and decisive response to any “adventurous action,″ the ministry said.
The ministry added that this is not the first time that Britain has made accusations against Iran without providing evidence.
The attack on the Mercer Street is the first known fatal strike on commercial shipping in the region after years of tensions over the tattered nuclear deal between western nations and Iran.
Vahdat reported from Tehran.