State run TV shows Iran’s national flag hoisted on captured British ship – WATCH
Iran has hoisted the Iranian national flag over the seized British oil tanker, Stena Impero, as Tehran taunts Britain in new footage broadcast on state TV.
State-controlled news outlet Press TV also showed footage of Iranian armed forces patrolling the decks of the oil tanker after it was seized by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday.
The clip appears to have been recorded in the southern port of Bandar Abbas.
An Iranian official earlier stated that the 23-strong crew of the British-registered ship was “safe and in good health.”
As the situation in the Persian Gulf is threatening to spiral out of control, Prime Minister Theresa May announced that she is calling a meeting of Britain’s emergencies committee Monday to discuss the UK’s next moves.
“As well as receiving the latest updates from ministers and officials, the… meeting will discuss the maintenance of the security of shipping in the Persian Gulf,” a Downing Street spokesperson said Sunday.
In a video posted by Press TV on Sunday, the ship that sailing under the British flag is seen brandishing Iran’s green, white and red banner.
The short clip also shows a patrol boat that appears to be circling the waters near the vessel.
The ship appears empty except for several people that can be seen on the upper deck.
Iran has accused the Stena Impero’s crew of ignoring a distress signal after an “accident” with a shipping boat.
Tehran says the tanker instead changed its course, sailing in the wrong direction of a shipping lane.
The head of the Ports and Maritime Organization in Iran’s southern Hormozgan Province, Allah-Morad Afifipoor, told Press TV that it’s unclear how much time the probe will take, saying it would depend on the crew’s cooperation and Tehran’s ability to obtain the relevant documentation.
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On Saturday, Iranian news agency ISNA said the crew, which consists of 18 Indians, three Russians, a Latvian national, and a Filipino, remains on board and may be subject to “technical questioning.”
The UK, in a letter to the UN Security Council, challenged the Iranian Navy’s account, saying the Stena Impero was seized in Omani territorial waters and had done nothing wrong.
A recently-surfaced tense radio exchange between the Iranian Navy and the British frigate HMS Montrose, which was near the site of the incident, shows the British side advising the Stena Impero to defy Iran’s demands.
“As you are conducting transit passage in a recognized international strait, under international law your passage must not be impaired, impeded, obstructed or hampered,” the Montrose radioed to the tanker.
The Iranians said that they intended “no challenge” and needed to inspect the vessel for “security reasons.”