Tehran Condemns UK’s Abidance by US’ Anti-Iran Policies

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Mousavi one again denounced the UK’s seizure of an oil tanker of his country in the Strait of Gibraltar, adding that the move showed that London is following Washington’s policies of increasing tension against Tehran.

Mousavi said that the UK’s seizure of Iran-operated oil tanker in the strait of Gibraltar on July 4 was in line with the hostile policies of the US against the Islamic Republic.

“We have told the British authorities that their move would increase tensions and is in line with those hostile policies of the US,” he said.

“From the first day the oil tanker was seized, Iran started taking legal and diplomatic measures. We summoned the UK ambassador twice and he appeared at the Iranian foreign ministry for several other meetings to provide some explanations,” he added.

“We have given the case to a lawyer who is currently taking legal and judiciary procedures,” Mousavi informed.

“Signatories to the JCPOA as well as other countries have done their best to preserve the deal,” Mousavi said, regarding the Iran nuclear deal of 2015, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). “Iran’s next step, within the two-month deadline to Europe, is planned and will be implemented.”

On Thursday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif dismissed the western officials' "worthless" claims that the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy attempted to seize a British oil tanker in the Persian Gulf.

Zarif said that the claims were aimed at creating tensions, adding that the British government’s claim is "worthless", and such claims were nothing new.

Zarif also pointed to the IRGC statement which dismissed the claim, saying that "they are seeking to cover up their weaknesses with such claims".

The IRGC Navy deployed in the Persian Gulf rejected Pentagon’s claims that its forces attempted to seize a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz.

The IRGC naval forces responsible for controlling the Fifth Naval Zone in the Persian Gulf rejected the Western media claims citing the US Department of Defense (Pentagon) that five Iranian fast boats attempted to capture a British oil tanker in the Persian Gulf but they failed as the British Royal Navy frigate (HMS Montrose) interfered.

"Naval patrols of the Guards Corps in the Persian Gulf continue vigilantly, precisely and strongly based on regular procedures and missions, and during the last 24 hours, there have been no encounters with foreign vessels, including the British ones,” a statement by the IRGC Fifth Zone said on Thursday.

"If an order to seize foreign vessels is received, the IRGC naval forces controlling the Fifth Naval Zone in the Persian Gulf are able to carry out their mission in its geographical zone immediately, firmly and rapidly," it added.

Analysts believe that the US claims are aimed at counteracts criticism of Britain for the seizure of an Iranian oil tanker in the Strait of Gibraltar.

Last Thursday morning, British Royal Marines in Gibraltar stormed an Iran-operated supertanker off the coast of Gibraltar, seizing the 300,000-tonne Grace 1 based on the accusation that it was carrying oil to Syria in possible violation of the European Union’s sanctions on the war-torn Arab country.

According to Gibraltar authorities, the 28 crewmembers, who are nationals of India, Pakistan and Ukraine, are currently staying aboard the tanker, along with local police and customs officers boarding the vessel for a period of a probe.

Iran has condemned the move as “maritime piracy” and summoned Britain’s ambassador in protest. It has vowed to employ all its political and legal capacities to secure the release of the vessel and uphold its rights.

Spain’s acting Foreign Minister Josep Borrell stated on Friday that Madrid was planning to lodge a formal complaint against the UK and was studying the circumstances and looking at how the incident is affecting its sovereignty.

Spain, which challenges the British ownership of Gibraltar, has announced the seizure was prompted by a US request to Britain and appeared to have taken place in Spanish waters.

However, the British-claimed overseas territory rejected the claim, saying that Gibraltar had acted independently.

Gibraltar’s position comes as a British foreign office spokesman had welcomed the move on Thursday, describing it as a “firm action by the Gibraltarian authorities, acting to enforce the EU Syria Sanctions regime”.

The seizure of the Panama-registered Grace 1 came as the US pledged to cut Iran’s oil exports to “zero” as part of the sanctions that it has reinstated after leaving a landmark multilateral 2015 nuclear deal with Iran in May last year, and many analysts take London’s move as an indicator that the UK is not committed to the nuclear agreement and is much on the side of Washington in Trump anti-Iran maximum pressure campaign.

  • Published in World

Donald Trump Calls British Ambassador To US "A Very Stupid Guy"

Washington: President Donald Trump on Tuesday called the British ambassador to the United States "a very stupid guy," one day after declaring he would cut contact with the diplomat following a leak of cables describing Trump as "inept."

"I don't know the Ambassador but have been told he is a pompous fool," Trump wrote in a series of early morning tweets doubling down on British envoy Kim Darroch.

"The wacky Ambassador that the U.K. foisted upon the United States is not someone we are thrilled with, a very stupid guy," Trump added.

London has been scrambling to stem the damage caused by the release of confidential cables from Darroch, which in addition to describing Trump as inept also called his White House "uniquely dysfunctional."

The US president's early morning wrath was not solely reserved for Darroch, however. Trump also doubled down in attacking British Prime Minister Theresa May regarding Brexit, saying she "went her own foolish way-was unable to get it done. A disaster!"

kko62328Kim Darroch also called Trump's White House "uniquely dysfunctional."

Trump said Darroch should "speak to his country, and Prime Minister May, about their failed Brexit negotiation, and not be upset with my criticism of how badly it was handled."

The release of the British cables came just a month after a state visit by Trump that included a 41-gun salute welcome at Buckingham Palace and a banquet dinner with the queen.

Trump concluded his tweets by demanding that someone tell Darroch "the USA now has the best Economy & Military anywhere in the World, by far and they are both only getting bigger, better and stronger.....Thank you, Mr. President!"

The leaked cables threaten to complicate London's efforts to strike a new trade agreement with the United States, to mitigate potential damage from Britain's withdrawal from the European Union.

May's government, meanwhile, has reiterated its "full support" for its ambassador to Washington.

  • Published in World

Iran’s ‘duty’ to seize British tanker if UK fails to release captured ship – senior official at IRGC

Tehran should seize a British tanker if the UK does not release the oil supertanker captured by Royal Marines near Gibraltar, a senior official in Tehran has said.

On Thursday, British marines and Gibraltar police seized the Panama-flagged tanker off the southern coast of the Iberian Peninsula. The vessel is owned by a Singaporean company.

Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo claimed that the ship was transporting crude oil to Syria “in violation” of the EU sanctions placed on Damascus. According to Madrid, which considers the waters off Gibraltar to be its own, the British captured the ship at the request of the US. Officials in Washington, meanwhile, welcomed the seizure of the vessel, saying that it was carrying Iranian oil.

Also on rt.com ‘Playing part in anti-Tehran policy?’ UK marines seize ship with alleged Iranian crude for Syria....

Later in the day, Iran summoned the British ambassador and slammed the seizure of the vessel as “a destructive step” and “a form of piracy.” Foreign Ministry's spokesperson, Abbas Mousavi argued that the sanctions against Syria are illegal under international law and Iran does not recognize them.

On Friday, Major General Mohsen Rezaee of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, who is also the secretary of the influential Expediency Discernment Council, tweeted that Iran should be ready for counter measures.

Should Britain refuse to release the ship, it is the authorities’ “duty to seize a British oil tanker,” he argued.

Also on rt.com Tehran time travel? US accuses Iran of violating nuclear deal 'even before its existence'....

The detained vessel had a 28-person crew, mostly Indians, but also some Pakistanis and Ukrainians. They are being interviewed as witnesses, not criminal suspects, Gibraltarian officials said. The authorities are currently working to establish the nature of the cargo and its destination.

Ali Rizk, a Middle East-based journalist and writer, told RT that, by seizing the tanker, Britain may have wanted to side with Washington by “playing its part in anti-Iranian policy.”

  • Published in World

‘Playing part in anti-Tehran policy?’ UK marines seize ship with alleged Iranian crude for Syria

Iran has summoned the British ambassador after the seizure of a supertanker that was allegedly carrying crude to fuel-starved Syria in defiance of EU sanctions. It comes as the US is trying to stifle Iranian oil trade to zero.

The MT Grace 1, a 300,000-ton Very Large Crude Carrier, was detained in a raid conducted by the British Royal Navy Marines and Gibraltar law enforcement on Thursday morning. The government of Gibraltar, a British overseas territory located on the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula, said the ship was detained for allegedly violating EU sanctions on Syria.

The Panama-flagged vessel owned by a Singaporean company was en route to deliver its cargo to the Banyas refinery in Syria, Gibraltar Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said. “That refinery is the property of an entity that is subject to European Union sanctions against Syria,” the official explained. The EU imposed sanctions on the Syrian government in 2011, but this appears to be the first time a shipment of crude allegedly violating them was detained by a European authority.

Detention of Super Tanker ‘The Grace 1'...

Spain’s caretaker Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said the British targeted the tanker on a request from the US. He added that Spain, which considers the waters off Gibraltar as its own, was assessing the implications of the operation.

Iran has reportedly acknowledged ownership of the cargo. Its foreign ministry summoned the British ambassador in Tehran to protest the “unlawful seizure of the Iranian tanker,” according to the IRNA news agency.

According to Reuters, the MT Grace 1 has been used by Iran in the past to ship crude to Singapore and China in defiance of unilateral sanctions imposed against Iran by the US. The current trip allegedly started in Iran’s port of Bandar Assalyeh, thought the papers state that the crude was loaded in the Iraqi port of Basra.

Also on rt.com France warns Pentagon chief not to drag NATO into military action against Iran – report...

In seizing the tanker under the pretext of sanctions on Syria, the EU seems to be at least partially siding with Washington, which is trying to cripple the Iranian economy through harsh economic sanctions. The pressure campaign was escalated after the US broke its commitment under the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

“Maybe the EU was trying to show that it was siding with the Americans, playing its part in anti-Iranian policy? We know that the Trump administration has been critical of the European countries,” Ali Rizk, a Middle East-based journalist and writer, told RT.

“And it’s likely a demonstration against Syria. It all helps an ongoing plan of parting Syria with its allies.”

Also on rt.com Tehran can reverse nuclear deal commitments in 1 hour, will increase enrichment - President Rouhani...

The seizure also comes amid an escalation in the Gulf of Oman, where several tankers have been damaged in two separate incidents. Washington accused Iran of attacking the tankers, presumably to show it can interrupt the flow of Arab crude through the crucial waterway. Iran denied the accusation and said the attacks were likely false-flag operations meant to justify an increased US military presence in the region.

Syria has been experiencing fuel shortages for years amid devastating armed conflict within the country. A large part of its oil fields in the northeastern part of the country are currently controlled by the US-backed Kurdish militias.

 

  • Published in World

Minister for Economic Development, Sir Joe Bossano, travels to Cuba as part of UK trade mission

The Minister for Economic Development Sir Joe Bossano is travelling to Cuba this weekend as part of a UK trade mission, supported by the British and Cuban governments.

The trade mission aims to strengthen UK /Cuban relations following the Cuban President’s visit to London and the visit to Cuba by the Prince of Wales.

It's also being seen as an opportunity to explore post Brexitrelationships and identify potential economic relationships that could increase trade with new partners.

Sir Joe will be accompanied by Albert Poggio and returns to Gibraltar next week.

  • Published in Cuba

Rolling Stones' Iconic Havana Gig To Be Relived In Kentish Town

In March 2016, just days after Barack Obama was the first sitting US president to visit Cuba in 88 years, the Rolling Stones played a massive free concert in Havana. It's thought 500,000 locals turned out to watch the band play hits like Jumpin' Jack Flash, Gimme Shelter and (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction.

Now, an immersive experience invites Londoners to experience the Havana Moon gig themselves — featuring a backdrop of Cuban dancers and Latin vibes, while footage of the concert is blown up on a supersize ultra HD video projection (hopefully to your Satisfaction).

The show takes place at Kentish Town Forum on 27 October

  • Published in Culture

Oops! New York Times corrects Skripal story, says no ‘dead ducks’ or ‘sick kids’ from ‘Novichok’

The New York Times has corrected a report that UK officials had shared photos with the CIA depicting children and animals who’d been exposed to the so-called Novichok nerve agent after coming into contact with the Skripals.

The Times reported on April 16 that the British government had supplied images of “young children hospitalized” and of dead ducks, inadvertently poisoned after interactions with Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia at a park in Salisbury in March of last year. The paper pointed to the “sloppy work of the Russian operatives” who were blamed for what London calls a nerve agent attack last year.

While the original story claimed the images were used to convince US President Donald Trump to expel 60 Russian diplomats from the US in response to the Skripal episode, the Times now says no such photos exist.

“An earlier version of this article incorrectly described the photos that [CIA Director] Gina Haspel showed to President Trump during a discussion about responding to the nerve agent attack in Britain,” reads the correction, issued almost two months after the original story was published.

I made a significant error in my April 16 profile of Gina Haspel. It took a while to figure out where I went wrong. Here is the correction: 1/9

Haspel, instead, presented the president with generic images illustrating the harmful effects of some nerve agents, while the British claims of sick kids and poisoned birds were based on “early intelligence reports,” the corrected story says.

While the Times amended the story and added an editor’s note, the paper apparently forgot to scrub a photo caption describing a “slipshod attack that also sickened children, killed ducks and required careful cleanup.”

Prior to the correction, there were already signs that something was off about the story. Shortly after the Skripal incident, British tabloid the Daily Mirror reported that three children were indeed hospitalized after feeding ducks in a Salisbury park with the Skripals, but blood tests revealed that the children were fine.

One of the boys reportedly even ate some of the bread supplied by Skripal and intended as bird-food. According to UK authorities, Sergei Skripal’s hands were coated in a highly-lethal nerve agent at that moment; it is unclear how the child could have avoided poisoning.

READ MORE: ‘Highly likely’ is the new evidence: Five times Western officials had no proof but media fell for it

This is only one aspect of the Skripal story that does not make sense, but the UK authorities still maintain it could have only been an officially sanctioned assassination attempt by the Kremlin – which Moscow outright denies. The episode has fueled tensions between Russia and the West. Nearly 20 countries, most of them in the EU, moved to expel some Russian diplomats in response to the incident last year, in addition to the 60 ejected from the United States.

Also on rt.com Hospitalized children & dead ducks? The ‘official’ Skripal narrative goes completely quackers...

 
  • Published in World

UK Among Worst In Europe For Press Freedom

Campaigners argue that ‘national security’ is often used as a pretext to trample on the freedom of press.

On Saturday, a ‘Reporters Without Borders’ report published in The Independent ranked the U.K. 33rd for press freedom, behind South Africa and Latvia. It is one of the worst rankings for a European country with activists arguing that ‘national security’ is often used as a pretext to trample on the freedom of press.

RELATED: YouTube Censors Iranian Press, HispanTV, Press TV Targeted

There have been long running concerns about the concentration of media ownership in Britain. A 2015 report claimed that the country’s media is owned by just a few tycoons, threatening media plurality. Two of Britain’s most widely read newspapers, The Sun and the Times, along with the Press Association agency and SKY News broadcast, are owned by Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp. The U.K.’s next most widely circulated papers such as The Daily Mail are owned by billionaire Jonathan Harmsworth, 4th Viscount Rothermere, and The Telegraph by billionaire twins, David and Frederick Barclay.

However, Rebecca Vincent, Reporters Without Borders U.K. director, argues that their biggest worry is the British government’s use of ‘national security’ to crackdown on critical reporting. “Too often steps taken in the name of national security trample press freedom," she says.

One area that ‘national security’ issues may hinder reporting on, is over the U.K.’s involvement in Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen. Fears have grown since it was revealed that London is a hub for Saudi government PR spending.  

A report from the Pew Research Center found that less than a third of U.K. citizens ‘trust’ their national media, with just 5% claiming to trust it ‘a lot’. This number is compared to the Netherlands where 67% trust their national titles, with 18% claiming to do so ‘a lot’.

There are also concerns about press freedom in other western countries. The Canadian government recently banned teleSUR English from reporting on the so called ‘Lima Group’ meeting held in Ottawa in early Feburary 2019. The Russian embassy in Canada has also complained that Russian journalists are routinely presented with difficulties in carrying out their  professional role.

  • Published in World
Subscribe to this RSS feed