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One of two seized British-linked tankers now in Iranian custody

By Sommer Brokaw
The Stena Impero was in Iranian custody Saturday while a second ship seized by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Friday, the Mesdar, was allowed to continue its journey. File Photo courtesy Stena Bulk
The Stena Impero was in Iranian custody Saturday while a second ship seized by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Friday, the Mesdar, was allowed to continue its journey. File Photo courtesy Stena Bulk

July 20 (UPI) -- One of two captured British-linked tankers was in Iranian custody Saturday and the other was allowed to continue its course.

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard seized the British oil tanker Stena Impero for violating international maritime law by veering into Iranian waters Friday in the Strait of Hormuz, along with a Liberian-flagged, British-owned MV Mesdar tanker.

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Stena Impero is now in Iranian custody and the other tanker has been allowed to continue its course.

Iran said Saturday that the Stena Impero is in custody because it didn't stop after colliding with a fishing vessel.

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British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said "we are not looking at military options. We are looking at a diplomatic way to resolve this situation. There will be serious consequences if we are not able to resolve it quickly."

The Strait of Hormuz is a strategic channel 21 miles wide at its narrowest point, linking the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf, and controlling access to a fifth of the world's oil. The British government urged all United Kingdom shipping to stay away from the strategic waterway.

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The tensions coincide with new sanctions imposed by President Donald Trump's administration's since the United States pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal in May of 2018, citing it was "defective at its core."

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Trump said the British ship's seizure proved his repeated assertions that Iran is "nothing but trouble."

"It goes to show you I was right," Trump said, adding "it's not American, it's U.K. ... Let's see what happens."

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