Connect with us

World

Iran warns UK against escalating tensions, says crew of seized ship safe

Published

on

President of Iran Hassan Rouhani addresses the crowd during his visit in Semnan, Iran on December 4, 2018.

IRANIAN PRESIDENCY / HANDOUT | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Iran on Sunday urged Britain to contain “domestic political forces” intent on escalating tensions between the two countries following Iran’s seizure of a British-flagged oil tanker.

Britain has called Iran’s capture of the Stena Impero in the Gulf on Friday a “hostile act” and rejected Tehran’s explanation that it seized the vessel because it had been involved in an accident.

The “UK government should contain those domestic political forces who want to escalate existing tension between Iran and the UK well beyond the issue of ships. This is quite dangerous and unwise at a sensitive time in the region,”

Iran’s envoy to Britain Hamid Baeidinejad said on Twitter. “Iran however is firm and ready for different scenarios,” he said.

A day earlier British foreign minister Jeremy Hunt said Tehran’s actions showed “worrying signs Iran may be choosing a dangerous path of illegal and destabilising behaviour after Gibraltar’s legal detention of oil bound for Syria.”

The crew of the tanker seized by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards are all safe, the head of the Ports and Maritime Organisation in Hormozgan Province told state TV on Sunday.

“All 23 crew members aboard the ship are safe and in good health in Bandar Abbas port,” Allahmorad Afifipour said.

SANCTIONS

Afifipour said the seized tanker “risked maritime safety” in the Strait of Hormuz, through which almost a fifth of the world’s annual oil consumption passes.

“We are required by regulations to investigate the issue … the duration of the investigation depends on the level of cooperation by the involved parties,” said Afifipour.

The seizure has heightened tension between Iran and Britain, which is a party to Iran’s 2015 multinational nuclear deal. The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported on Saturday that London was planning to target Iran with sanctions in the aftermath of the tanker seizure.

In a letter to the U.N. Security Council, Britain said the tanker was approached by Iranian forces in Omani territorial waters where it was exercising its lawful right of passage, and that the action “constitutes illegal interference.”

Stena Bulk, the vessel’s Sweden-based owners, said it is preparing a formal request to visit the crew, who are from India, Latvia, the Philippines and Russia. India has called on Iran to release the 18 Indian crew members.

Tehran for weeks has vowed to retaliate for the seizure by Royal Marines of the tanker Grace 1 carrying Iranian oil near Gibraltar on July 4 which was suspected of violating sanctions on Syria.

“The Revolutionary Guards responded to Britain’s hijacking of the Iranian tanker,” parliament speaker Ali Larijani told a parliament session aired live on state radio.

U.S. President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the nuclear agreement with Iran last year and reimposed and tightened sanctions on Iran’s oil and banking sectors.

WAIVERS

Waivers allowing eight countries to keep buying Iranian oil – China, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey – expired on May 2.

Iran has repeatedly threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz if it cannot export its oil because of the sanctions but cannot legally do so as part of the waterway is in Oman’s territorial waters.

Oman has urged Iran to release the Stena Impero, calling on all parties to exercise restraint and resolve differences diplomatically, state broadcaster Oman TV News reported on Sunday. 

Ships using the Strait also pass through Iranian waters, which are under the responsibility of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Navy.

“Iran is displaying its power without entering a military confrontation.

This is the result of America’s mounting pressure on Iran, ” said an Iranian official, who asked not to be identified.

Source link

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

World

US-UK trade deal within a year of Brexit will be tight, UK PM Johnson

Published

on

It will be tight to meet the United States’ desire to do a post-Brexit trade deal with Britain within a year, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Sunday.

Johnson, who took office last month, had his first bilateral meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump earlier on Sunday at the G7 meeting in France and the two discussed a range of issues including trade.

In interviews with British television media afterwards, Johnson said the United States wanted to do a deal within a year of Britain leaving the EU on Oct. 31.

“Years and years is an exaggeration, but to do it all within a year is going to be tight,” he told BBC TV.

Johnson also said the chances of Britain agreeing a Brexit deal with the EU were improving but it would be “touch and go”.

Source link

Continue Reading

World

Hong Kong police briefly turn water cannon on protesters, fire tear gas

Published

on

Protesters gather in Kwai Fong in Hong Kong on August 24, 2019.

LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA | AFP | Getty Images

Hong Kong police briefly fired water cannon and volleys of tear gas to force back brick-throwing protesters on Sunday after violent clashes a day earlier during which police also fired tear gas for the first time in more than a week.

At least one petrol bomb was thrown by protesters. The water cannon, which had not been used in years of anti-government protests, soon pulled away.

The Chinese-ruled city’s MTR rail operator suspended some services to try to prevent people gathering but protesters made it to a sports stadium in the vast container port of Kwai Chung, from where they marched to nearby Tsuen Wan.

Some dug up bricks from the pavement and wheeled them away to use as ammunition, others sprayed detergent on the road to make it slippery for the lines of police. Clashes spread in many directions.

Police had warned earlier they would launch a “dispersal operation” and told people to leave.

“Some radical protesters have removed railings … and set up barricades with water-filled barriers, bamboo sticks, traffic cones and other objects,” they said in a statement.

“Such acts neglect the safety of citizens and road users, paralysing traffic in the vicinity,” the statement said.

Activists threw petrol bombs and bricks on Saturday in the gritty industrial district of Kwun Tong, on the east of the Kowloon peninsula.

The vast majority marched peacefully on Sunday.

‘Last Chance’

M. Sung, a 53-year-old software engineer in a black mask emblematic of the many older, middle-class citizens at the march, said he had been at almost every protest and would keep coming.

“We know this is the last chance to fight for ‘one country, two systems’, otherwise the Chinese Communist Party will penetrate our home city and control everything,” he said.

“If we keep a strong mind, we can sustain this movement for justice and democracy. It won’t die,” Sung said.

Protesters say they are fighting the erosion of the “one country, two systems” arrangement under which the former British colony returned to China in 1997 with the promise of continued freedoms not enjoyed on the mainland.

The protests, which started over a now-suspended extradition bill and evolved into demands for greater democracy, have rocked Hong Kong for three months and plunged the city into its biggest political crisis since the handover.

They also pose a direct challenge for Communist Party leaders in Beijing, who are eager to quell the unrest ahead of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China on Oct. 1.

Beijing has sent a clear warning that forceful intervention is possible, with paramilitary forces holding drills just over the border.

Transport to the airport appeared normal on Sunday, despite protesters’ plans for a day-long “stress test” of transport in the international aviation and financial hub.

Police said they strongly condemned protesters “breaching public peace” and that 19 men and 10 women had been arrested after Saturday’s violence. More than 700 have been arrested since the demonstrations began in June.

The neighbouring gambling territory of Macau, a former Portuguese colony that returned to Chinese rule in 1999, elected former legislature head Ho Iat Seng as its leader on Sunday – the sole approved candidate.

Ho, who has deep ties to China, is expected to cement Beijing’s control over the “special administrative region”, the same status given to Hong Kong, and distance it from the unrest there.

Source link

Continue Reading

World

At G-7, Trump says he is not happy about North Korea missile tests

Published

on

SAINT-JEAN-DE-LUZ, France — President Donald Trump said Sunday he was not happy after North Korea launched short-range ballistic missiles over the weekend.

“I’m not happy about it but again he’s not in violation of any agreement,” Trump said when asked about the recent string of tests from the North’s Kim Jong Un.

“I discussed long-range ballistic and that he cannot do and he hasn’t been doing it and he hasn’t been doing nuclear testing. He has done short-range, much more standard missiles, a lot of people are testing those missiles, not just him. We are in the world of missiles folks, whether you like it or not,” Trump said.

Meanwhile, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said North Korea’s test was in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.

On Saturday, North Korea fired what appeared to be two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea off its east coast, the South Korean military said, the latest in a series of launches in recent weeks amid stalled denuclearization talks.

North Korea, the only nation to have tested nuclear weapons this century, spent most of Trump’s first year in office perfecting its nuclear arsenal. The newest member of the world’s exclusive nuclear weapons club has stopped testing of its nukes for now as the U.S. and international community offer the possibility of relief from crippling economic sanctions.

Under the third-generation North Korean leader, the reclusive state has conducted its most powerful nuclear test, launched its first-ever intercontinental ballistic missile and threatened to send missiles into the waters near the U.S. territory of Guam.

Since 2011, Kim has fired more than 90 missiles and had four nuclear weapons tests, which is more than what his father, Kim Jong Il, and grandfather, Kim Il Sung, launched over a period of 27 years.

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending