Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs on Sunday condemned Iran’s seizure of a British flagged tanker in the Strait of Hormuz and urged the international community to take action to deter such “unacceptable” behavior.
“Any attack on the freedom of navigation is a violation of international law,” Adel Aljubeir said in a Twitter post.
“Iran must realize its acts of intercepting ships, including most recently the British ship, are completely unacceptable. The world community must take action to deter such behavior,” he added.
Iran said on Friday it had seized Britain’s Stena Impero tanker, which had been heading to a port in Saudi Arabia and suddenly changed course after passing through the strait at the mouth of the Gulf.
In the meantime, Britain told the United Nations Security Council on Saturday that a British-flagged tanker seized by Iran was approached by Iranian forces when it was in Omani territorial waters and the action “constitutes illegal interference.”
“The ship was exercising the lawful right of transit passage in an international strait as provided for under international law,” Britain’s UN mission wrote to the Security Council. “International law requires that the right of transit passage shall not be impeded, and therefore the Iranian action constitutes illegal interference.”
It follows threats from Tehran to retaliate for Britain’s seizure on July 4 of the Iranian tanker Grace 1, accused of violating sanctions on Syria.
Britain called on Iran to release the Stena Impero tanker and told the Security Council it was working to resolve the issue through diplomatic means.