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Iran links tanker row to ailing nuclear deal

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 29 July 2019, 07:03 AM
British authorities detained an Iranian tanker off the UK overseas territory of Gibraltar in early July
British authorities detained an Iranian tanker off the UK overseas territory of Gibraltar in early July

Iran on Sunday said a breach of the ailing 2015 nuclear deal is the reason behind Britain’s seizure of an Iranian oil tanker. This came after diplomats from Iran and five world powers recommitted to save the major nuclear deal since the U.S. withdrew from the accord and reimposed sanctions. Representatives of Iran, Germany, France, Britain, China, Russia and the European Union met in Vienna to discuss the 2015 agreement that restricts the Iranian nuclear program.

British authorities detained an Iranian tanker off the UK overseas territory of Gibraltar in early July on allegations it was breaching EU sanctions on Syria.

A British-flagged tanker was then impounded by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards with its 23 crew aboard in the Strait of Hormuz on July 19, which was seen by the UK as a tit-for-tat move.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi linked the tanker row to discussions over the nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). “Since Iran is entitled to export its oil according to the JCPOA, any impediment in the way of Iran’s export of oil is actually against the JCPOA,” Araghchi said.

He added that the issue of Iran’s oil exports—including US attempts to prevent them completely—was raised at the meeting.

“I think the atmosphere was constructive and the discussions were good, I cannot say that we resolved everything,” he said.

Earlier, Donald Trump had imposed "hard-hitting" sanctions on Iran. Trump's move to impose fresh set of sanctions on Iran comes days after Tehran said it shot down an American drone in the region. However, Trump denies the drone, valued at more than USD 100 million, violated Iranian airspace, saying he backed away from planned strikes after learning that 150 people would be killed in the military action.

Tensions have been escalating between the United States and Iran since Trump last year withdrew the US from a global nuclear deal with Iran and re-imposed economic sanctions on Iran.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said had also said, Tehran is ready to talk to the United States if sanctions imposed are lifted. "We have always believed in talks ... if they lift sanctions, end the imposed economic pressure and return to the deal, we are ready to hold talks with America today, right now and anywhere," Rouhani said.

Reacting to this, Pompeo said, “President Trump will obviously make the final decision. But this is a path that the previous administration had gone down and it led to the (Iran nuclear deal) which this administration, President Trump and I both believe was a disaster.”

First Published: Monday, July 29, 2019 06:51 AM
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