LONDON: Three Iranian vessels attempted to block the passage of an oil tanker, the British Heritage, through the Strait of Hormuz, but withdrew after warnings from a Royal Navy warship, a government spokesman said on Thursday.
“HMS Montrose was forced to position herself between the Iranian vessels and British Heritage and issue verbal warnings to the Iranian vessels, which then turned away,” a British government representative said in a statement.
The incident happened almost a week after British Royal Marines boarded an Iranian tanker, Grace 1, off Gibraltar and seized it on suspicion that it was breaking sanctions by taking oil to Syria.
“We are concerned by this action and continue to urge the Iranian authorities to de-escalate the situation in the region,” the British government representative added.
The HMS Montrose is a Royal Navy frigate assigned to ship protection in the Hormuz area.
In a statement carried by the semi-official Fars news agency.Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards on Thursday denied they tried to stop a British tanker in the Gulf,
In a report carried earlier by CNN, US officials said five boats believed to belong to the Guards approached a British oil tanker in the Gulf on Wednesday and asked it to stop in Iranian waters close by but withdrew after a British warship warned them off.
The Guards’ Navy said in a statement their patrol boats were carrying out normal duties, according to ars.
“In the past 24 hours there has been no encounter with foreign ships including English ships,” the statement said.
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