Iran claims two British helicopters ‘harassed troops’ as they seized tanker

The moment Iranian marine commandos seized a British-flagged tanker has been shown in a newly-released video.

The footage shows the men, wearing balaclavas, descending onto the deck of the ship from a helicopter.

The Stena Impero, which was carrying no cargo, remains in Iranian hands.

The UK sent two helicopters to harass Iranian troops as they seized the tanker, a spokesman for Iran has claimed.

Despite the "resistance and interference" of the British warship, the Revolutionary Guards were able to bring the Stena Impero to the shore, Ramezan Sharif, a Guards spokesman said.

The UK has branded the seizure a 'hostile act'.

Stena Bulk, the Swedish-based owners of the UK-flagged tanker detained by Iran said today they were preparing a formal request to visit its 23 crew members.

The crew of the seized Stena Impero are of Indian, Russian, Latvian and Filipino nationality, Stena said.

Iran claim the tanker violated maritime regulations in the Strait of Hormuz and got into an accident with an Iranian fishing boat. This has been denied by the UK.

It is being held at the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas for investigations.

Iran's semi-official Tasnim news agency posted a video of the ship anchored at sea, its name clearly visible.

British Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt called the incident a "hostile act".

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he had expressed extreme disappointment by phone to his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Britain also summoned the Iranian charge d'affaires in London.

The strait, between Iran and the Arabian peninsula, is the sole outlet for exports of the vast majority of Middle Eastern
oil, and the seizure sent oil prices sharply higher.

The United States, which tightened sanctions against Iran in May with the aim of halting its oil exports altogether, has been warning for months of an Iranian threat to shipping in the strait.

France, Germany and the European Union joined Britain in condemning the seizure.

The three big European countries are signatories to a 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers that Washington undermined by quitting last year, setting Iran's already fragile relations with the West on a downward spiral.

Under the pact, Iran agreed to restrict nuclear work in return for lifting sanctions.

The European countries opposed the Trump administration's decision to abandon the agreement last year, but have so far failed to fulfil promises to Iran of providing alternative means for it to access world trade.

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