The Latest: US wants meeting with UN nuke agency on Iran
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — The Latest on U.S.-Iran tensions (all times local):
The U.S. says it is requesting a special meeting of the board of the United Nations’ nuclear agency to discuss the latest developments in Iran’s atomic program.
The U.S. said Friday its ambassador to international organizations in Vienna, Jackie Wolcott, had requested a special meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency to discuss its “latest, concerning report on the Iran regime’s nuclear program.”
The IAEA on Monday said its inspectors had confirmed Iran had surpassed the limit set on its stockpile of low-enriched uranium established in the 2015 deal promising the country economic incentives in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.
The U.S. unilaterally pulled out of the nuclear deal last year, but Iran had been abiding by the restrictions.
The IAEA says it will hold the meeting Wednesday.
A newspaper in Gibraltar reports that authorities in the British overseas territory have been granted a two-week judicial extension to detain a supertanker suspected of shipping Iranian oil to Syria in breach of European Union sanctions.
In a series of tweets, the Gibraltar Chronicle quoted Attorney General Michael Llamas saying that the territory’s Supreme Court had granted an extension to July 19 following a Friday afternoon hearing.
Calls and e-mails to the court weren’t immediately answered.
Authorities in the tiny territory at the mouth of the Mediterranean Sea are conducting a probe to determine the origin and destination of the seized Grace 1 tanker. Initial evidence has shown that it was laden with Iranian light crude oil destined to a refinery included in the EU’s sanction list against the Syrian regime.
Iranian authorities have criticized the detention. On Friday, a former leader of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard said the Islamic Republic should consider responding by seizing a British oil tanker.
A spokesman for the government of Gibraltar says that authorities are conducting investigations aboard the large tanker detained Thursday for allegedly carrying Iranian oil to Syria, but that no arrests have been made so far.
The spokesman, who asked not to be identified by name, said Friday that all 28 crew members remain on the vessel while being interviewed as witnesses and not questioned under criminal procedures.
The crew is made of mainly Indian, Pakistani and Ukrainian nationals, he said.
Iranian authorities have criticized the seizure of the supertanker by authorities in Gibraltar, assisted by the British Royal Marines for allegedly breaching European Union sanctions against Syria.
Spain said Thursday that the detention followed a request by the U.S.
However, the spokesman of the British overseas territory denied it on Friday and said Gibraltar acted independently.
Local newspaper Gibraltar Chronicle reports that the Grace 1 supertanker can only be detained for 72 hours unless the Supreme Court in the territory extends the deadline while the probe is conducted.
— By Aritz Parra in Madrid.
A former leader of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard says the Islamic Republic should consider seizing a British oil tanker in response to authorities detaining an Iranian oil tanker off the coast Gibraltar.
Mohsen Rezaei, who led the Guard during the 1980s “Tanker War” in the Persian Gulf, wrote Friday on Twitter: “If England does not release the Iranian oil tanker, the duty ... (of Iran) is to respond and seize one English oil tanker.”
Authorities in Gibraltar intercepted Thursday a super tanker believed to be breaching European Union sanctions by carrying a shipment of Iranian crude oil to Syria. Spanish authorities say the seizure came at the request of the U.S.
The seizure comes amid heightened tensions between Iran and the U.S. over Tehran’s unraveling nuclear deal with world powers.