Iran wants resolution, not escalation: UK’s Jeremy Hunt

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 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 on Saturday. (AFP)
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A picture shows supertanker Grace 1 off the coast of Gibraltar on July 6, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 14 July 2019

Iran wants resolution, not escalation: UK’s Jeremy Hunt

  • Jeremy Hunt:  Iran wants to resolve the ongoing crisis involving the UK seizure of an Iranian tanker
  • The UK's foreign minister said he told his Iranian counterpart that Britain would facilitate the release of the detained oil tanker if there were "guarantees" it would not go to Syria

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."

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".


Israel strikes Hamas base after new rocket attacks: army

Updated 22 August 2019

Israel strikes Hamas base after new rocket attacks: army

  • Hamas launched two rockets at Israel late Wednesday
  • There have been a series of deadly incidents along the Gaza border since the start of the month

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories: Israeli forces bombed Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip overnight in retaliation for Palestinian rocket attacks, the military said Thursday.
Hamas launched two rockets at Israel late Wednesday — bringing to six the number of strikes from Gaza in less than a week — the army said, adding that thy caused no casualties or damage.
In retaliation, the army said it “struck “a number of military targets in a Hamas naval facility in the northern Gaza Strip.”
A Palestinian security source told AFP a naval base west of Gaza City had been “targeted several times” by Israeli aircraft.
The source said aircraft had also targeted “three sites in the central Gaza Strip and in Khan Yunis” in the south.
He reported no casualties.
There have been a series of deadly incidents along the Gaza border since the start of the month.
On Sunday, the three Palestinians were killed by Israeli soldiers in the northern Gaza Strip.
Last Thursday, a Palestinian was shot dead after firing at Israeli soldiers on the border, the army said.
The previous day, the army said it shot dead four heavily armed Palestinians, after one crossed the border and threw a grenade at soldiers.
On August 1, a Palestinian seeking to avenge his brother’s death by Israeli fire entered Israel from Gaza and opened fire on soldiers, the army said.
Three soldiers were wounded and the Palestinian killed.
Regular mass protests began along the Gaza-Israel border in March last year demanding the easing of Israel’s more than decade-old blockade of the territory and the right for Palestinian refugees to return to their ancestral homes in what is now Israel.
At least 305 Palestinians have been since been killed by Israeli fire, the majority during demonstrations.
Seven Israelis have been killed in Gaza-related violence over the same period.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is widely seen as wanting to avoid an escalation in the Gaza Strip before a September 17 general elections, but he faces heavy political pressure to respond firmly.
Israel and Palestinian militants in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip have fought three wars since 2008.