An audio recording released Sunday captured the dramatic moments as a British naval officer warned Iranian military forces against seizing a UK-flagged oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, an incident that further roiled tense relations between Europe, the US and the Islamic Republic.
An officer with Iranian Revolutionary Guard told the Stena Impero tanker that “If you obey, you’ll be safe” and demanded it change course last Friday, according to an audio recording released Sunday by maritime security group Dryad Global.
“Alter your course to 360 degrees immediately, over,” the Iranian officer said.
A British naval officer aboard the HMS Montrose, a frigate that was patrolling in the area around the strait, warns the Iranian forces of the consequences of their actions.
“Please confirm that you are not intending to violate international law by unlawfully attempting to board,” the Brit said, also telling the tanker that it must be able to proceed unimpeded in the international waterway.
“Sir, I reiterate that as you are conducting transit passage in a recognized international strait, under international law your passage must not be impaired, intruded, obstructed or hampered,” the British officer said.
The Iranian patrol boat responds by saying it wants to stop the tanker for a security inspection.
”No challenge is intended, no challenge is intended. I want to inspect the ship for security reasons,” the officer said.
The Iranian Revolutionary Guard released video on Saturday showing commandos carrying machine guns and wearing face masks rappelling from a helicopter to the deck of the Stena Impero.
UK officials said the HMS Montrose was about an hour away from tanker – too far to intervene.
Iran said commandeering the ship was in retaliation for Britain’s seizure of an Iranian tanker off the coast of Gibraltar on July 4.
Britain said the Iranian tanker, the Grace 1, was smuggling oil to Syria and has refused to release it.
The seizure on Friday comes as the US said it downed an Iranian drone in the Gulf of Hormuz last Thursday – in the latest in the escalating tensions in the region.
Iran is trying to put pressure on European countries that are still participating in a 2015 nuclear deal to ease sanctions Trump reimposed on Tehran after withdrawing from the pact last year.
With Post Wires