Tehran: Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) on Thursday dismissed a claim that Iranian boats tried to intercept a British oil tanker in the Persian Gulf region.
“Patrols by the IRGC’s Navy vessels have been underway in the Persian Gulf based on current procedures and missions assigned to them with vigilance, precision and strength,” the state-run Press TV quoted the Public Relations Department of the IRGC Navy’s Fifth Naval Zone as saying in a statement. “In the past 24 hours, there has been no encounter with foreign ships, including British ones,” it added.
The statement further noted that the IRGC Navy’s fifth zone has the power to act “decisively and swiftly” and seize foreign vessels in the area it is tasked with patrolling if an order is issued to that effect. The IRGC’s remark came after the UK and US media reports said that the UK vessel named The British Heritage, was leaving the Persian Gulf when Iranian boats tried to prevent it from sailing through the Strait of Hormuz, forcing the frigate HMS Montrose to intervene, Efe news reported. In response to the incident, a spokesperson from the UK’s Defence Ministry said: “Contrary to international law, three Iranian vessels attempted to impede the passage of a commercial vessel, British Heritage, through the Strait of Hormuz. “HMS Montrose was forced to position herself between the Iranian vessels and British Heritage and issue verbal warnings to the Iranian vessels, which then turned away. Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also reacted to the allegations, saying on Thursday they are merely meant to create tensions, Press TV reported. Those who make such claims attempt to “cover up their weak point”, he added. (IANS)