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Iran warns Britain of 'repercussions' over ship seizure

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A British soldiers are seen during an operation involving the oil supertanker Grace 1 that's on suspicion of carrying Iranian crude oil to Syria in waters off the British overseas territory of Gibraltar historically claimed by Spain

Hassan Rouhani told a Cabinet meeting that the United Kingdom is "the initiator of insecurity" in the Persian Gulf and "will realise the consequences later".

If the tanker indeed loaded oil from Iran, it was not only in breach of European Union sanctions on the Syrian entity owning the refinery believed to be the destination of the oil, but it also violated the US sanctions on Iran's oil exports. In recent weeks, Iran has begun to openly breach limits on uranium enrichment set by the deal in order to pressure European signatories to salvage it.

Shipping data that Reuters has reviewed suggests that the tanker en route to Syria was loaded with Iranian oil off the Iranian coast.

On Friday, an Iranian general warned the country could seize a British ship in retaliation.

The tanker's detention comes at a particularly sensitive time as tensions between the US and Iran grow over the unraveling of a 2015 nuclear deal, which President Donald Trump withdrew from previous year.

Ali Shamkhani, a senior Iranian security official, told a French envoy Wednesday that the decision to increase enrichment is an "unchangeable strategy" and criticized European countries for their "lack of will" in providing relief from the USA sanctions, according to the official IRNA news agency.

Iran's official IRNA news agency reported that Shamkhani told Bonne the decision to increase enrichment is an "unchangeable strategy" and criticized European countries for their "lack of will" in providing relief from USA sanctions.

A diplomatic adviser to French President Emmanuel Macron held talks in Tehran Wednesday aimed at saving the 2015 deal.

The accord between Iran and world powers, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), promised sanctions relief, economic benefits and an end to global isolation in return for stringent curbs on the Islamic Republic's nuclear programme. Trump has long rejected the deal, saying it was too generous to Tehran and did not address its involvement in regional conflicts.

In May, the United States dispatched a carrier group, bombers and fighter jets to the Persian Gulf region in response to alleged Iranian threats.

He also alleged the downing of the American drone was testimony to Iran's growing military prowess, adding, "Today, the Islamic Republic of Iran enjoys the necessary power in the missile, naval and air defense spheres, and this fact has posed a serious challenge to one of the enemy's strong points, namely its aerial and missile capability".

In remarks broadcast on Iranian TV, Rouhani said: 'You (Britain) are the initiator of insecurity and you will realise the consequences later.

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