Britain called on Monday for a European-led naval mission to ensure safe shipping through the Strait of Hormuz, days after Iran seized a British-flagged tanker in what London described as an act of "state piracy".
After this, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei announced that the British government's illegal seizure of the Iranian supertanker was an act of "piracy" and will not go "unanswered".
Two armed members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard on July 21, 2019 inspect the British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero, which was seized in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday by the Guard, in the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas.
Last week the United States said it had shot down an Iranian drone, which Tehran denied. The EU has already expressed its "deep concern" at the move, and on Monday, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said: "We don't want any further escalation".
He also sought to put distance between Britain and its closest global ally, the United States.
Europe has struggled to contain the tensions that stem from US President Donald Trump's decision to pull the United States from Iran's nuclear deal, which had lifted sanctions on Iran in exchange for compliance on its nuclear program. Trump pulled the US out of the accord previous year and re-imposed harsh sanctions, which have had a severe effect on Iran's economy.
Since pulling out of the accord, Trump has reimposed sanctions on several key Iranian industries as part of its "maximum pressure" strategy against the country.
Mr Merriman said: "Just to show that I'm not the puppet of Philip Hammond or Jeremy Hunt, I take the view that we have dropped the ball here. we did not put in place a chain where we asked all of our vessels to leave at a certain time under convoy".
"All its 23 crew members will remain on the ship until the probe is over", Allahmorad Afifipour was quoted as saying by Iran's Fars news agency.
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The paper said London may also seek the reimposing of United Nations and European Union sanctions which were lifted against Iran in 2016 in connection to a deal on the country's nuclear programme.
What is interesting now is that some countries like Bahrain are now acting like the seized ship belonged to them!
Britain says the two incidents can not be compared, asserting that Britain acted lawfully off the Gibraltar coast to prevent illegal oil shipments to Syria that would have violated European Union sanctions while Iran broke global maritime law by forcing the Stena Impero to change course and go to Iran. Alter your course immediately.
The Stena Impero was taken in an area of water called the Strait of Hormuz, which is next to Iran in the Middle East.
Speaking during a visit to Nicaragua, Mohammad Javad Zarif said the British ship had "turned off its signalling" for longer than is allowed, and "was passing through the wrong channels".
Dina Esfandiary, a fellow at The Century Foundation think tank in NY, says Iran is trying to up the ante in the crisis with the United States "by responding individually to each move the US and its allies make, but doing so in a relatively calibrated manner that makes it hard for the other side to simply resort to war".
Britain's prime minister Theresa May will be chairing a meeting today with the country's emergency response committee to discuss the crisis on their captured tanker. Former foreign minister Boris Johnson is the overwhelming favourite to replace her.
Washington's major European allies Britain, France and Germany all opposed a decision previous year by US President Donald Trump to abandon an worldwide agreement that promised Iran access to trade in return for accepting curbs on its nuclear programme.