NATO Calls On Iran To Release Seized Commercial Ships, Crew Members

NATO Calls on Iran to Release Seized Commercial Ships, Crew Members

MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 21st July, 2019) NATO called on Iran to release two commercial ships, seized in the Strait of Hormuz, and their crew members.

On Friday, UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the Iranian forces had seized two tankers: a Liberian-flagged one and a UK-flagged one in the Strait of Hormuz. The owner of the UK oil tanker Stena Impero subsequently said there were 23 crew members, including three Russian nationals, on board of the detained vessel. The owner of the Liberian-flagged vessel Mesdar subsequently said the armed personnel boarded the ship but allowed it to continue its passage later in the day.

"We urge Iran to immediately release the ships and their crew. The UK has made clear that their priority is to address the situation through dialogue and diplomacy.

NATO supports all diplomatic efforts to resolve this situation. All Allies remain concerned by Iran's destabilizing activities," the alliance said in a statement on late Saturday.

NATO has also condemned the incident, calling it a threat to the freedom of navigation.

"We condemn the seizure of two commercial ships in the Strait of Hormuz. This represents a clear challenge to international freedom of navigation," the statement added.

Iran seized the UK vessels two weeks after UK Marines helped seize an Iranian tanker off the coast of Gibraltar on suspicion of trying to bring oil to Syria.

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