Iran to meet with nuclear partners amid tanker crisis

first_imgTehran: Iran said Tuesday it will attend an urgent meeting with countries still party to the troubled nuclear deal, as it declared itself the “guardian of security” in the Gulf amid a tanker crisis. The planned July 28 meeting is aimed at salvaging the hard-won deal, on life-support since the United States withdrew from it last year and reimposed biting sanctions against Iran. Amid rising hostilities with the United States, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards seized a tanker sailing under the flag of US ally Britain on Friday. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USState television aired new footage of the crew aboard the Stena Impero tanker which Iran has impounded at the port of Bandar Abbas for allegedly breaking “international maritime rules”. In the video, the crew made up of 18 Indians, three Russians, a Latvian and a Filipino are seen sitting around a table on the ship and seemingly going about their daily routines. The seizure of the Swedish-owned vessel has been seen as a tit-for-tat move after British authorities detained an Iranian oil tanker on July 4 in the Mediterranean on suspicion it was shipping oil to Syria in breach of EU sanctions. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential polls”Throughout history, Iran has been and will be the main guardian of security and free navigation” in the Gulf, President Hassan Rouhani said late Monday in a meeting with visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi. “There is still no adequate and lasting stability and security in the region,” he added, emphasising that Tehran was not seeking to stoke tensions. Since the United States began reimposing sanctions on Iran, tensions have mounted with drones shot down and oil tankers mysteriously attacked in the sensitive waters of the oil-rich Gulf. US President Donald Trump called off air strikes against Iran at the last minute in June after the Islamic republic downed a US drone. Iran also said Monday it had arrested 17 suspects and sentenced some to death after dismantling a CIA spy network, which was dismissed by Trump as “totally false”. The standoff has seen the price of oil spike, with Brent North Sea crude up 32 cents at USD 63.58 per barrel on Tuesday and West Texas Intermediate 23 cents higher at USD 56.45. The nuclear deal meeting was requested by the European parties to discuss the “new situation”, Iran said, referring to its reduced nuclear commitments under the deal in response to the US withdrawal. “It was agreed to convene an extraordinary meeting of the JCPOA joint commission in Vienna on July 28,” Iran’s foreign ministry said, using the acronym for the deal’s formal name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The meeting would be held at the level of deputy ministers and political directors, it said in an English-language statement. Tehran has already given up complying with some of the deal’s limits on its nuclear programme in retaliation to the US withdrawal and what it sees as failure by remaining parties to help it circumvent sanctions.last_img