BP oil tanker sheltering in Gulf over fear of Iran attack

Royal Marines during live fire drills in 2012

British Royal Marines seized the Iranian oil tanker in Gibraltar on Thursday for trying to take oil to Syria in violation of European Union sanctions, and Iran responded by threatening possible retaliations, saying Britain should be "scared".

Britain's seizing of an Iranian oil tanker last week was a threatening act that will not be tolerated, Iran's Defence Minister Amir Hatami said on Monday in a speech broadcast live on state television.

Tehran denies this and claims the vessel was intercepted in worldwide waters. He said the tanker wasn't heading toward Syria, without saying where the vessel was going.

Iran responded by summoning British Ambassador Rob Macaire to its Foreign Ministry to explain what it described as an "illegal seizure", which had been earlier described by the U.K.as enforcing the EU's sanctions regime against Syria.

Maj. Gen. Seyed Abdolrahim Mousavi said that Tehran is not looking for war with any country, according to the semi-official Mehr news agency. It was passing through global waters through the Strait of Gibraltar and there is no law that allows England to stop this tanker.

The vessel was then captured by British Royal Marines in Gibraltar on Thursday.

Iran on Friday demanded that Britain immediately release the tanker, but Gibraltar's Supreme Court ruled that the vessel can be held for 14 more days.

The IAEA is in charge of verifying the restrictions on Iran's nuclear activities imposed by the deal, which also lifted worldwide sanctions against Tehran.

It's now off Saudi Arabia's coast and a person with knowledge of the matter says BP's concern is that it could become a target if Iran seeks to retaliate for the seizure near Gibraltar - by British Royal Marines - of the tanker Grace 1 on July 4.

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