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

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.


Algerian court jails protesters over election

Updated 19 November 2019

Algerian court jails protesters over election

ALGIERS: An Algerian court has jailed four protesters for 18 months for disrupting a candidate’s campaign for the Dec. 12 presidential election which is opposed by a mass protest movement.
The court sentenced the four on Monday after protests on Sunday in the western city of Tlemcen, where one of the five candidates, Ali Benflis, was campaigning. No details were available on what their exact actions were.
Algeria’s authorities are trying to quell a protest movement that erupted in February to demand the departure of the country’s ruling hierarchy, an end to corruption and the army’s withdrawal from politics.
The army, which has emerged as the most powerful institution in the country, has pushed for next month’s election as a means to end the protests and restore normality. The former president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, quit in April.
The judgment comes a week after a series of other prison sentences were handed down to protesters who had raised flags with Berber symbols during earlier demonstrations.
Several opposition leaders have also been held during the protests, and charged with contributing to damaging army morale.
However, the authorities have also detained numerous current and former senior officials on corruption charges, and have jailed some of them including the once untouchable former intelligence chief.
The protesters have rejected any presidential election carried out now, saying the continued presence of Bouteflika allies in the upper echelons of the government mean it cannot be free or fair.
Human Rights Watch said last week that the arrest of scores of protesters looked like “part of a pattern of trying to weaken opposition to Algeria’s interim rulers and their determination to hold presidential elections.”