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Dominic Raab rules out tanker exchange with Iran.

Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, has ruled out an exchange of seized oil tankers with Iran, saying there can no 'quid pro quo' to end the standoff, APA reports citing The Guardian.

Iran has suggested that it would release the British-flagged Stena Impero if the UK agrees to release the Grace 1, a Iranian tanker seized in Gibraltar earlier this month.

But the UK maintains the Grace 1 was legally seized for violating EU oil sanctions on Syria, while the Iranian seizure of the Stena Impero was an illegal act of 'state piracy'.

'There is no quid pro quo. Grace 1 was intercepted because it was in breach of sanctions and heading with oil to Syria,' Mr Raab said on the Today programme.

'The Stena Impero was unlawfully detained. So this isn't about some kind of barter. This is about international law.

Iran has accused Britain of seizing its tanker at the behest of the Trump administration, which is trying to choke off all Iranian oil exports. The UK denies the allegation.

Mr Raab also urged Western allies not to engage in a a 'geopolitical EU versus US tussle' over plans for competing naval missions in the Persian Gulf to protect shipping.

While Jeremy Hunt, the former foreign secretary, proposed a European naval operation Mr Raab has said that any EU initiative will need American support to be viable.

France and Germany have insisted the initiative be independent of American naval operations in the Gulf, which they see as part of Donald Trump's 'maximum pressure' campaign against Iran.

'We want to see a European-led approach but in reality it shouldn't be some kind of geopolitical EU versus US tussle,' Mr Raab said.

'I think it would be important for the European-led initiative to have US support to make it viable.'

Britain now has two warships in the Persian Gulf to escort British ships as they pass through the Strait of Hormuz.

The HMS Montrose, a frigate, has been in the region for several weeks while the HMS Duncan, a destroyer, arrived over the weekend.

The two ships will act in concert briefly before the HMS Montrose is due to return to port, once again leaving Britain with only a single warship in the area.

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Publication:Azeri-Press News Agency
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 29, 2019
Words:447
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