Oman to mediate in tanker row with UK
July 26 2019 08:21 PM
An Iranian Revolutionary Guard member walks onboard of Stena Impero, a British-flagged vessel owned
An Iranian Revolutionary Guard member walks onboard of Stena Impero, a British-flagged vessel owned by Stena Bulk, in Bandar Abbas port. Fars News Agency/ WANA/Handout via REUTERS


Oman is to play a mediating role in the row over impounded tankers between Britain and Iran, Iranian state media reported Friday.
The foreign ministers of Oman and Iran, Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah and Mohamed Javad Zarif, are to meet in Tehran today, the IRNA news agency reported.
Oman has mediated in tensions between Iran and its Western adversaries in the past, repeatedly with some success.
The feud between Tehran and London began on July 4 when the Iranian Grace-1 supertanker was seized off the British overseas territory of Gibraltar for allegedly violating EU sanctions with its Syria-bound cargo.
Around two weeks later, Iran seized the British-flagged Stena Impero in the strategically important Strait of Hormuz, claiming that it had collided with a fishing ship and violated international law.
Both sides have denied the accusations.
Yesterday, Iran released nine of the 12 Indian sailors from the Panama-flagged ship MT Riah, which was detained in the Gulf by Iran in mid-July, a spokesman for India's Ministry of External Affairs said.
Iran had accused that ship of smuggling contraband fuel.
Three Indian nationals remain on the MT Riah, while 18 were detained from the Stena Impero, which had 23 crew members in total.
Officials from the High Commission of India (HCI) in London have met the 24 Indian crew members on the Grace-1.
Relations between the West and Iran took a hit last year when the United States announced its withdrawal from the hard-fought 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.
US sanctions have since taken a toll on the Iranian economy and complicated Iran's ability to trade with other countries, while Iran said earlier this year that it too was abandoning significant aspects of the agreement to curb its nuclear capabilities.
More recently, Britain has suggested launching a European naval mission in the Strait of Hormuz, a vital shipping lane that has been at the centre of tensions.
Talks are ongoing but this could involve anything from an observer mission to military escorts of cargo ships in the region.

Last updated: July 27 2019 12:46 AM

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