Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, yesterday warned the United Kingdom (UK) against “starting a conflict,” adding that he was not seeking “a confrontation.”
Iran was reported last week to have seized a British-flagged tanker, the “Stena Impero,” in the Strait of Hormuz, a move that London described as “state piracy.”
Speaking in Nicaragua, Zarif said that the measures taken against the British ship were, “to implement international law, not in retaliation for the British capture of an Iranian tanker two weeks earlier in the UK’s Gibraltar.”
In response, Zarif described the seizure of the Iranian ship as “piracy” and “violation of international law” by the British and the Gibraltar authorities.
“Everybody needs to realize, it’s important for Boris Johnson to understand, that Iran does not seek confrontation,” he said, addressing the UK’s parliament member and ex-foreign minister, Boris Johnson.
“Starting a conflict is easy, ending it would be impossible,” the Iranian official continued, noting that Iran was seeking “normal relations based on mutual respect.”
The UK ship, Zarif pointed out, had turned down its signal for more time than it was allowed to, adding that the tanker “was passing through the wrong channel, endangering the safety and security of shipping and navigation in the Strait of Hormuz, for which we are responsible.”
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, recently said in a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi in Tehran, that his country was “continuing to maintain the security of the Gulf navigation.”
Al-Jazeera recently reported that Abdul Mahdi was in talks with the Iranian leadership on the possibility of holding an international conference in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad under European auspices, intending to ease tensions between Iran and the US.