Britain initiator of insecurity, will realise consequences, warns Rouhani over oil tanker seizure

File photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters Tehran, Esfahan, Iran Jul 10, 2019, 02.01 PM (IST)

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday Britain would face "consequences" over the seizure of an Iranian oil tanker, and said Iran's increase in uranium enrichment was for peaceful aims, the semi-official news agency Tasnim reported.

Iran has demanded the immediate release of the tanker Grace 1, which British Royal Marines boarded off the coast of Gibraltar last week and seized over accusations it was breaking sanctions by taking oil to Syria.

"You (Britain) are the initiator of insecurity and you will realise the consequences later," Rouhani was quoted by Tasnim as saying after a cabinet meeting.

Rouhani also said Iran's decision to increase uranium enrichment would produce fuel for power plants and serve other peaceful aims, and that it was within the framework of Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

Iran’s deputy foreign minister Abbas Araqchi had said the Iranian tanker captured by British Royal Marines in Gibraltar was not headed to Syria

Royal Marines had seized the tanker last Thursday for trying to take oil to Syria in violation of EU sanctions, a dramatic intervention described as "maritime robbery" by Araqchi.

The minister said the giant tanker has a capacity of up to two million barrels of oil and that is why it was travelling through the Strait of Gibraltar rather than the Suez Canal.

The government of Gibraltar said on Friday that they had received permission from their supreme court to hold the tanker for fourteen days.

An Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander had earlier threatened to seize a British ship in retaliation.

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Rouhani also said Iran's decision to increase uranium enrichment would produce fuel for power plants and serve other peaceful aims