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Amid escalating tension, Iran says it's ready for tanker swap with UK 

File photo of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Web Team New Delhi Jul 25, 2019, 09.33 AM (IST)

As tension continues to escalate in the Persian Gulf, Iran has hinted it is open to a tanker swap with Britain.

Iran dropped the hint after the owners of UK-flagged tanker Stena Impero, seized by Tehran expressed hope for ''positive progress'' after speaking to its crew.

British diplomatic sources have denied sending a mediator to Iran to discuss the freeing of the seized tanker. 

A local Iranian news website had earlier reported that a mediator had been sent to discuss the freeing of a British-flagged tanker seized by the Islamic republic.

Iran had seized a British oil tanker on Friday. 

The seizure came just two weeks after British authorities seized an Iranian tanker off Gibraltar on suspicion of it breaching sanctions against Syria.

Following the seizure, former UK foreign ministry Jeremy Hunt had announced plans to develop a maritime protection mission in the Gulf, an idea which has gained immense support from France, Italy and the Netherlands.

Meanwhile, Iran on Wednesday denied any of its drones were intercepted after the US military said it took aim at two of them last week.

US central command claimed on Thursday that one Iranian drone crashed into the sea after the USS Boxer took ''defensive action'' against Iran last week.
 
However, Iran's defence minister Amir Hatami said that the US should provide evidence of its claims as none of their drone has been intercepted. He added that when Iran shot down a US drone last month it shared images of the wreckage to back its claims.   

Meanwhile, the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said that they are ready to negotiate but not if it means they will surrender.

Rouhani further said that Iran is ready for legal and honest negotiations to solve the problem. He added that they will not allow law violations in the strait of Hormuz.

Story highlights

Iran dropped the hint after the owners of UK-flagged tanker Stena Impero, seized by Tehran expressed hope for ''positive progress'' after speaking to its crew.