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Iran says European naval mission in Gulf would be 'provocative'


AFP Tehran
Iran on Sunday slammed as "provocative" a British proposal for a European-led naval mission to escort tankers in the Gulf, amid soaring tensions over the seizure of ships.
"We heard that they intend to send a European fleet to the Persian Gulf which naturally carries a hostile message, is provocative and will increase tensions," government spokesman Ali Rabiei said, quoted by ISNA news agency.
Britain said on Monday it was planning a European-led force for shipping in the Gulf in response to Iran's seizure of a UK-flagged oil tanker on July 19.
The seizure of the Stena Impero came two weeks after British authorities detained an Iranian tanker -- the Grace 1 -- off its overseas territory Gibraltar on allegations it was breaching EU sanctions on Syria.
In his comments on Sunday, the Iranian government spokesman said Iran believed the security of the oil-rich Gulf had to be maintained by countries in the region.
"We are the biggest agent of maritime security in the Persian Gulf," said Rabiei.
There have been a number of attacks on tankers in the Gulf since May, when the United States boosted its military presence in response to what it called indications of a "credible threat" from Iran.

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First Published: Jul 28 2019 | 2:15 PM IST

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