Iran calls on Britain to immediately release its seized supertanker

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Abbas Mousavi, spokesman for Iran's Foreign Ministry, gives a press conference in the capital Tehran. (AFP)
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A handout picture released by the Ministry of Defence shows a night vision image of British Royal Marines taking part in the seizure of an Iranian oil tanker, Grace 1 in the early hours of July 4, 2019 off the Gibraltar strait. (Handout/MOD/CROWN COPYRIGHT 2019/AFP)
Updated 13 July 2019

Iran calls on Britain to immediately release its seized supertanker

  • Iran has warned of reciprocal measures if the tanker is not released by Britain
  • British Royal Marines seized an Iranian oil tanker last week on suspicion that it was breaking European sanctions

DUBAI:: Iran called on Britain on Friday to immediately release its oil tanker which British Royal Marines seized last week on suspicion that it was breaking European sanctions by taking oil to Syria, a foreign ministry spokesman told state news agency IRNA.
“This is a dangerous game and has consequences ... the legal pretexts for the capture are not valid ... the release of the tanker is in all countries’ interest,” the spokesman, Abbas Mousavi, said.
Iran has warned of reciprocal measures if the tanker is not released by Britain.
Britain said on Thursday that three Iranian vessels tried to block a British-owned tanker passing through the Strait of Hormuz, which controls the flow of Middle East oil to the world, but backed off when confronted by a Royal Navy warship. Iran denied that its vessels had done any such thing.
Tension between Iran and the West has increased a week after Britain seized the tanker and London said the British Heritage, operated by oil company BP, had been approached in the strait between Iran and the Arabian peninsula.
Britain is among European parties to Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal, which President Donald trump pulled out of last year and reimposed and toughened sanctions on Tehran.
“Foreign powers should leave the region because Iran and other regional countries are capable of securing the regional security,” Mousavi said.


Leaked audio of Assad forces shooting elderly women in Idlib proves civilian killings: Report

Updated 19 min 23 sec ago

Leaked audio of Assad forces shooting elderly women in Idlib proves civilian killings: Report

  • Syrian regime also attacked Turkish military posts in violation of cease-fire deal

LONDON: Syrian regime forces deliberately killed elderly women in the northwestern region of Idlib, leaked recordings obtained by the UK’s Daily Telegraph have shown.

The audio recordings from Feb. 11 also suggest that forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad attacked Turkish military posts in violation of a cease-fire deal.

The recordings captured a conversation between soldiers from the infamous elite Tiger Forces, the 25th Division, tracking a vehicle driving into the village of Mizanaz, to the west of Aleppo.

In the audio, intercepted by spotters at an observatory in the local area who picked up the soldiers’ frequency, one soldier can be heard saying: “There are women driving, their car is stuck in the mud and they’re headed to a battlefield.”

 

 

A second soldier said: “She looks elderly. It’s clear she’s coming to pack her belongings, then she’s leaving.”

Despite a clear identification of the women, one of the soldiers is heard saying: “I’m watching them. They’re about to enter a house. Yallah, I’m firing now.”

At that point, rapid machine gun fire can be heard on the tape. “Fire, fire, I’m observing for you,” the second soldier replies.

Local media reports from the time and date of the audio recording support the assertion that the women were killed in the attack.

Regime forces have used attacks on civilians as part of their strategy to clear rebel-held areas of the country, while attacking civilian institutions such as schools and hospitals. 

In September 2019, pro-Assad militants reportedly executed an elderly woman who refused to leave her home when it was confiscated after they recaptured the town of Khan Sheikhoun. 

According to figures from the Syrian Network for Human Rights, regime forces and their Russian allies are responsible for 90 percent of civilian deaths in the nine-year conflict, with three-quarters of those people victims of artillery or aerial shelling. The deliberate killing of non-combatants is a war crime under international law.

The Telegraph’s report also revealed recordings showing regime forces actively attacking Turkish posts in Idlib province that were set up as part of a de-escalation deal negotiated with Russia in 2018.

The attacks prompted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday to urge his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to “restrain” Assad’s advance in Idlib.