Iran FM Spox urges Britain to speedily free Iranian tanker

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said London's claims about the seizure of Iran's oil tanker are legally irrelevant and urged British to free the tanker as soon as possible.

In an interview with IRNA, Mousavi pointed to the European Union disapproval of the US anti-Iran sanctions and ultra- territorial laws and said the letter sent by Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to the EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini, like the previous ones, was inspired by the fact that the United States had even in the previous Administration violated its promises even from the very beginning of negotiations. 

He stated that in each of these letters, the cases related to the violations of the JCPOA, as well as the difficulties and obstacles to its implementation are elaborated.

The spokesman further said that the letters have not been published except for as news in the media, but Zarif may later publish them in the form of a book to let the public opinion see how he has vigorously defending the national interests and the JCPOA.

The head of the Foreign Ministry's Department of Public Diplomacy and Media, announced that the British Ambassador to Tehran was summoned to the Foreign Ministry for the fourth time during last week to provide explanations on the seizure of Iranian oil tanker.

He said the seizure of oil tanker Grace 1 is an important issue for Iran.

Mousavi rejected Britain's claim on the destination of oil tanker Grace 1, saying that "the tanker cannot harbor in Syrian ports because it is a supertanker. On the other hand, our question from the British is whether the Islamic Republic of Iran is under the sanction of the European Union? Is Europe imposing a sanction on oil? Even if we assume that the tanker was going to Syria, the question still remains that as the EU claims their laws are not ultra- territorial and they will not act against other countries. They have always been critical of the issue, but now are acting like this on pretext of violating the Syrian sanctions.

Mousavi in regard to the selection of Josep Borrell as a candidate for EU foreign policy chief’ capacity, noted, “This is an EU internal choice that we respect. We hope that the positive actions taken by Mogherini during these years will be followed up by him, and if there are weaknesses, he considers them.

Asked whether there have been talks with Iran since Borrell was chosen as a candidate for EU foreign policy? The Spokesman stated, “Mr. Zarif met with Mr. Borrell in one, two trips to attend various meetings.”

"We consider him to be a positive person altogether, but he will have duties that the EU will delegate to him," the country's top diplomat said.

On claims made by US Vice President Mike Pens that the United States has yet restrained vis-a-vis Iran, Mousavi noted, "In the US ruling body, we are really witnessing a confusion that has never been before. See the remarks of Trump, Pens, Pompo, Bolton, and so on in just a short time. A single, coherent policy cannot be seen, and it is not known who takes the decision in the US and who is implementing.

The spokesman for the diplomatic apparatus elsewhere in his remarks on Iran's relations with Arab countries said that the Islamic Republic of Iran, as a country with 15 neighbors, wishes to have intimate, close, friendly and fraternal relations with all its neighbors and has shown this desire. Naturally, there are differences of opinion. “We gave them the message of peace, friendship and fraternity at the height of tension. We also presented solutions to our brother in the southern countries of the Persian Gulf, one of which, Zarif has officially announced that the formation of a regional dialogue forum and preparation for signing Non-aggression treaty individually or collectively are among them.

He added, "We and the neighbors have lived in this region and we will remain in this area. If we are to maintain the security of this area, we have to do that, if stability is to return in the region, we need to do it with each other and any foreign presence from tens of thousands of miles away and they are lying they will come to our region to stabilize, it will not help and should be considered a danger to everyone. Our message is to them that they must be somewhat vigilant.”

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