News 11 july — 10:05

Iranian boats 'tried to intercept British tanker'

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Iranian boats tried to impede a British oil tanker near the Gulf - before being driven off by a Royal Navy ship, the Ministry of Defence has said, BBC reports.

HMS Montrose moved between the three boats and the tanker British Heritage before issuing verbal warnings to the Iranian vessels, a spokesman said.

He described the Iranians' actions as "contrary to international law".

Iran had threatened to retaliate for the seizure of one of its own tankers, but denied any attempted seizure.

Boats believed to belong to Iran's Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) approached the British Heritage tanker and tried to bring it to a halt as it was moving out of the Gulf into the Strait of Hormuz.

Guns on HMS Montrose, the British frigate escorting the tanker, were reportedly trained on the Iranian boats as they were ordered to back off. They heeded the warning and no shots were fired.

The BBC has been told British Heritage was near the island of Abu Musa when it was approached and harassed by the Iranian boats.

Although the island is in disputed territorial waters, HMS Montrose remained in international waters throughout.

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