The U.S. State Department condemned Iran for its alleged attempt to intercept a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz.
Amid growing tensions in the Persian Gulf region, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus on Thursday, July 11, praised the British navy for safeguarding freedom of navigation.
“The Department of State condemns the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy’s attempt to unlawfully harass and interfere with the passage of the UK flagged merchant vessel British Heritage yesterday near the Strait of Hormuz,” said Ortagus.
“We commend the actions of the Royal Navy in ensuring freedom of navigation, and the free flow of commerce through this critically important waterway,” continued Ortagus, who said that the United States would cooperate with the UK to ensure maritime safety in the Persian Gulf region.
“We will continue to work closely with the United Kingdom and our allies to ensure the Iranian regime’s malign activities do not further disrupt international law, maritime security or global commerce,” said Ortagus.
Ortagus reiterated President Donald J. Trump’s offer to talk with Iran over its nuclear agenda and recent military moves in the region.
“The president has said that he will meet with the Iranians without preconditions so we seek a diplomatic solution,” said Ortagus, who stated, “We’ve asked our allies to ask Iran to de-escalate the situation, not harass American allies, or our interests, (and) not (to) terrorize the region.”
Early on Thursday, the British Royal Navy said it stopped three Iranian paramilitary vessels from blocking the passageway of a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz.
This incident occurred a day after the Iranian president warned about ramifications over the seizure of its own supertanker.
Iranian Revolutionary Guard has refused to acknowledge that the incident happened, stating that they would have seized the tanker immediately if they had been instructed to do so.
The United States has held Iran accountable for several attacks on oil tankers in the region during the past two months—charges that Iran denies.