LONDON: Iran wants to resolve the ongoing crisis involving the UK seizure of an Iranian tanker and was "not seeking to escalate tensions," UK's Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt said after a conversation with his Iranian counterpart.
Speaking on Saturday, Hunt said Mohammad Javad Zarif had told him during their telephone conversation that Iran was seeking a resolution to the issue involving detained tanker Grace 1.
The UK's foreign minister said he told Zarif that Britain would facilitate the release of the detained oil tanker if there were "guarantees" it would not go to Syria.
After what he called a "constructive call" with Zarif, Hunt tweeted that the UK would "facilitate release" if the British government received guarantees that the tanker would not dock in Syria, "following due process in Gibraltar courts."
#BREAKING: Iran wants to resolve the oil tanker issue and is not seeking to escalate the situation, Britain's Foreign Secretary @Jeremy_Hunt said Saturday https://t.co/r7fP0qrCdI pic.twitter.com/IJrESW0bFR
— Arab News (@arabnews) July 13, 2019
US officials believed the tanker was destined for Syria to deliver oil, in violation of separate sets of EU and US sanctions.
Tehran had reacted angrily to the seizure, and Britain this week said Iranian military vessels had tried to "impede the passage" of a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz.
Hunt said Gibraltar's Chief Minister Fabian Picardo was doing an "excellent job co-ordinating issue and shares UK perspective on the way forward".
Hunt also said he raised with Zarif the imprisonment of British-Iranian national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, and Zarif "said he would continue to seek to find a solution".