Tanker detention by Britain was threatening act: Iran’s defense minister

Iran’s Defense Minister Amir Hatami said Britain’s action was a threatening act. (File/AFP)
Updated 08 July 2019
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Tanker detention by Britain was threatening act: Iran’s defense minister

  • Royal Marines seized the tanker on Thursday for trying to take oil to Syria in violation of EU sanctions
  • Gibraltar received permission from its supreme court to hold the tanker for 14 days

GENEVA: Britain’s seizing of an Iranian oil tanker last week was a threatening act that will not be tolerated, Iran’s Defense Minister Amir Hatami said on Monday in a speech broadcast live on state television.
Royal Marines impounded the tanker in Gibraltar on Thursday on suspicion it was carrying oil to Syria in violation of European Union sanctions. Iran denies the vessel was headed to Syria, where the government of President Bashar Assad is an ally of Tehran.
Authorities in the British territory said the tanker can be held for up to 14 days. An Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander threatened to seize a British ship in retaliation.
“These days we witnessed a threatening act from the government of England in the Strait of Gibraltar against a tanker from the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Hatami said. “This is an incorrect and wrong action, an action similar to maritime robbery...certainly these kind of robberies will not be tolerated.”
The tanker was not headed to Syria, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said on Sunday, without specifying the final destination of the vessel.
Hatami said Iran’s downing of an unmanned American aircraft last month sent a message that the Islamic Republic would defend its borders. Washington said the drone was shot down over international waters.
Separately, Iranian army chief Major General Abdolrahim Mousavi said on Monday that Iran is not looking for war with any country, according to the semi-official Mehr news agency.


Dead body business attracts medics, drug dealers in Egypt

Egyptian Christians stand outside St. Markos Church in Minya, south of Cairo, Egypt, in this Jan. 6, 2015 file photo. (AP)
Updated 23 July 2019
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Dead body business attracts medics, drug dealers in Egypt

  • Some of the gravediggers remove tissues and grease from the bones by boiling them to remove their odor before selling them to students

CAIRO: The Egyptian Orthodox Church has issued a statement condemning the theft of the body of the Patriarch Gerges, son of priest Ibrahim Al-Basit, from his family’s burial place in the Minya governorate.
Last Saturday, the cemetery was opened and Al-Basit’s body was stolen. The crime of stealing the bodies of the dead has recently spread across Egypt, especially while the sanctity of the body remains preserved. It is also common for the remains to be collected two years after the burial.
Last October, a gang was arrested after stealing bodies from their graves. An investigation has revealed that the main defendant sold the bodies to medical students for practical learning.
Some of the gravediggers remove tissues and grease from the bones by boiling them to remove their odor before selling them to students.
The investigation found that the defendant had put a price on various limbs. The leg and the arm were priced at 3,000 Egyptian pounds ($180), the skull cost 5,000 pounds and the whole body was worth 20,000 pounds.
Ashraf Farahat, a legal expert and lawyer, said that Egyptian law demands up to five years of imprisonment and a fine of 100-500 pounds for criminals who violate the sanctity of graves.
Yasser Sayed Ahmed, a legal expert and lawyer, said he knew of many cases where cemetery guards and assistants help people access graves for superstitious reasons in exchange for large sums of money.
The majority of these cases are happening with the help of the guards of the tombs. They exhume graves at night to extract the bodies and separate the organs to sell bones and skulls. They often sell them to drug dealers by grinding and mixing some materials for sale at high prices.