Iran’s highest ranking military commander warned the British government on Tuesday to brace for a response, at the appropriate time and place, to the capture of an Iranian oil tanker in international waters off the coast of Gibraltar.
Addressing a military gathering in Tehran on Tuesday, Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri denounced the UK for seizing Iranian oil tanker Grace 1 in international waters on bogus charges.
The British navy has captured the supertanker in retaliation for the “direct, transparent and courageous” move by the Iranian Armed Forces to shoot down an intruding US spy drone in the Iranian airspace in June, he added.
“This measure (seizure of the oil tanker) will not go unanswered, and if necessary, the response to such a shameful move will be put on the agenda, at an appropriate time and place,” the general underlined.
He also described the downing of the stealth American drone as a testimony to Iran’s growing military power, adding, “Today, the Islamic Republic of Iran enjoys the necessary power in the missile, naval and air defense spheres, and this fact has posed a serious challenge to one of the enemy’s strong points, namely its aerial and missile capability.”
The British Royal Marines seized the giant Iranian oil tanker in Gibraltar on Thursday for trying to take oil to Syria allegedly in violation of EU sanctions.
Tehran maintains that the supertanker was not bound for Syria and its seizure has taken place at the behest of the US.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry has summoned the British envoy to Tehran three times since Thursday in protest at the UK navy’s move.