Amid standoff over the seizure of tankers, Iran on Tuesday warned Britain’s next prime minister Boris Johnson that it will “protect” waters of the oil-rich Gulf. The seizure of the Stena Impero ship has been seen as a tit-for-tat move after British authorities detained an Iranian tanker on July 4 in the Mediterranean on suspicion it was shipping oil to Syria in breach of EU sanctions.
Britain's race for prime ministerial post has finally come to an end on Tuesday with former foreign secretary Boris Johnson elected as the Conservative Party leader and the new Prime Minister of the country. Johnson, 55, beat foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt in the battle for 10 Downing Street, which was triggered last month following the resignation of Brexit-battered May amid a mounting rebellion from within the Conservative Party.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif congratulated Boris Johnson for his victory. “I congratulate my former counterpart, @BorisJohnson on becoming UK PM,” he tweeted.
“Iran does not seek confrontation. But we have 1500 miles of Persian Gulf coastline. These are our waters & we will protect them.” Iran’s top diplomat warned Britain against “implementing the ploys of the B team”, in a video message posted along with his tweet.
Zarif uses the term “B team” to refer to US national security adviser John Bolton, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Saudi and Abu Dhabi crown princes Mohammed bin Salman and Mohammed bin Zayed, who are all pushing a hard line on Iran.
“The B Team is losing ground in the United States and now turning their attention to the United Kingdom,” he tweeted.
Iran's deputy foreign minister Abbas Araghchi has left for France to deliver a message from Rouhani to his counterpart Emmanuel Macron, the ministry's spokesman tweeted Tuesday, without elaborating.
Macron’s top diplomatic adviser Emmanuel Bonne visited Iran on July 9 to “piece together a de-escalation” strategy and met top Iranian officials.
The 2015 deal curbed Iran’s nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief.