New audio shows Iran threatening British warship during Stena Impero seizure

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The video and audio released by Iran warned the British warship not to put the crew's "lives in danger". (Screenshot)
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The video and audio released by Iran warned the British warship not to put the crew's "lives in danger". (Screenshot) (Screenshot)
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Royal Navy destroyer HMS Duncan passes through the Suez Canal into the Gulf to support the safe passage of British-flagged ships through the Strait of Hormuz in this handout photo released July 28, 2019. (Royal Navy/Handout via Reuters)
Updated 29 July 2019

New audio shows Iran threatening British warship during Stena Impero seizure

  • UK destroyer HMS Duncan arrives in Gulf to help accompany vessels through the Strait of Hormuz
  • The destroyer joins frigate HMS Montrose, which appears in new video footage of the tanker capture released by Iran

LONDON: Iranian forces threatened a British warship’s crew against putting their “life in danger” during the seizure of a tanker this month, in a new recording of the incident.

The audio and video footage was released Monday by Iran, as a second UK warship arrived in the Arabian Gulf to protect shipping.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps seized the British-flagged tanker “Stena Impero” on July 19.

In the audio a British Navy officer can be heard saying it is in international waters escorting a merchant vessel after the Iranians warn them away from the tanker.

“British warship Foxtrot 236, this is Sepah navy patrol boat: you are required not to interfere in this issue,” an Iranian officer can be heard saying in the recording aired on state TV.

An officer on board the warship responds: “This is British warship Foxtrot 236: I am in vicinity of an internationally recognised strait with a merchant vessel in my vicinity conducting transit passage.”

The Iranian officer replies: “British warship Foxtrot 236, this is Sepah navy patrol boat: don't put your life in danger.”

Iranian state television also released recordings of another incident on July 10.

“This is British warship Foxtrot 236, go ahead,” a British naval officer can be heard saying.

His Iranian counterpart responds by saying: “British warship Foxtrot 236, this is Sepah navy warship... your tanker British Heritage under my control. You are ordered do not to interference in my operation.”

Britain said on July 11 that three Iranian vessels attempted to “impede the passage” of the “British Heritage” commercial oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz.

On Monday, the UK’s defense ministry said the destroyer HMS Duncan had arrived in the Gulf to join the frigate HMS Montrose.

The Montrose is due to undergo maintenance in nearby Bahrain in late August. It will be replaced by another frigate, HMS Kent, later this year.

Britain has said it wants to establish a European-led maritime protection force in the Gulf to protect vulnerable shipping, while emphasising it is not seeking a confrontation with Iran.

It has asked UK-flagged ships to give it notice when they plan to pass through the Strait of Hormuz, with HMS Montrose already having accompanied 35 merchant vessels during 20 separate transits, according to the Royal Navy.

“I’m pleased that HMS Duncan will continue HMS Montrose’s fine work in helping to secure this essential route,” Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said in a statement on Sunday.

“While we continue to push for a diplomatic resolution that will make this possible again without military accompaniment, the Royal Navy will continue to provide a safeguard for UK vessels until this is the reality.”

Tensions have been escalating in the region for weeks, with US President Donald Trump last month calling off at the last minute an air strike on Iran over its downing of a US spy drone.

Tehran has suggested the July 19 seizing of the tanker was in retaliation for UK Royal Marines helping Gibraltar authorities detain an Iranian tanker in the Mediterranean Sea two weeks earlier.

Britain said it had acted then because Iran was trying to deliver oil to Syria in violation of separate sets of EU and US sanctions.


Egypt urges decisive action against states backing ‘terror’

Updated 29 min 25 sec ago

Egypt urges decisive action against states backing ‘terror’

  • El-Sisi was apparently referring to Turkey and Qatar
  • Militant-related violence in Egypt has been centered on the Sinai Peninsula

CAIRO: Egypt’s president Wednesday called for “decisive” and “collective” action against countries supporting “terrorism” in an apparent reference to Turkey and Qatar, who back the Muslim Brotherhood group, which is outlawed in Egypt.
The three countries also support opposing factions in the war-torn Libya.
Addressing a two-day forum on peace in Africa in the southern city of Aswan, Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi also said achieving sustainable development in Africa is needed, along with efforts to fight militant groups in Egypt and the Sahel region that stretches across Africa south of the Sahara Desert.
“There should be a decisive response to countries supporting terrorism and a collective response against terrorism, because the terrorist groups will only have the ability to fight if they are provided with financial, military and moral support,” he said.
The gathering in Aswan is attended by the leaders of Niger, Chad, Nigeria and Senegal along with officials from the US, Britain and Canada.
The Sahel region is home to Al-Qaeda and Daesh-linked militants. El-Sisi said Egypt could help train forces and provide weapons to countries in the region to fight extremists.
Egypt has for years been battling a Daesh-led insurgency that intensified after the military overthrew Muslim Brotherhood President Muhammad Mursi in 2013 amid mass protests against his brief rule.
Militant-related violence in Egypt has been centered on the Sinai Peninsula, as well as in the country’s vast Western Desert, which has witnessed deadly attacks blamed on militants infiltrating from neighboring Libya.
Since Mursi’s ouster, tensions have grown between Egypt and Turkey and Egypt and Qatar. The political party of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, which Cairo designated as at terrorist group in 2013.
El-Sisi also said a “comprehensive, political solution would be achieved in the coming months” for the conflict in Libya, which descended into chaos after the 2011 civil war that ousted and killed long-time dictator Muammar Qaddafi. He did not elaborate.
He said that would put an end to a “terrorist hotbed that pushes militants and weapons to (Libya’s) neighboring countries including Egypt.”
El-Sisi apparently was referring to an international summit in Berlin that aims to reach an agreement on actions needed to end the conflict. The conference had been scheduled for October, but it has apparently been postponed.
El-Sisi’s comments came amid heightened tensions with Turkey after a controversial maritime border agreement it signed last month with Libya’s Tripoli-based government.
Greece, Egypt and Cyprus, which lie between the two geographically, have denounced the deal as being contrary to international law, and Greece expelled the Libyan ambassador last week over the issue.
Haftar has for months been fighting an array of militias allied with the Tripoli authorities to wrestle control of the capital. He is backed by the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, as well as France and Russia, while the Tripoli-based government receives aid from Turkey, Qatar and Italy.