The Supreme Leader has said that the UK’s impoundment of an Iranian supertanker will not go unanswered.
The vicious British government committed piracy and attacked our ship; they commit crimes and legalize it. The Islamic Republic and the believing members of the establishment will not leave such vicious acts without a response. pic.twitter.com/mnLgm6E2l3
— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) July 16, 2019
It was Ayatollah Khamenei’s first statement on the seizure of the Grace 1 in Gibraltar’s waters on July 4.
UK authorities said the supertanker, which took the long route from Iran around the southern tip of Africa, was en route to the Syrian port of Baniyas in the eastern Mediterranean.
The European Union has sanctioned all oil deliveries to Syria following the Assad regime’s mass killing and torture in its attempt to suppress a rising from March 2011.
Iranian political and military leaders vowed retaliation. Last week Iran’s Revolutionary Guards approached a British tanker in the Strait of Hormuz and tried to order it into Iranian waters, according to UK and US officials. The Royal Navy’s HMS Melrose intervened to prevent any interception.
Khamenei also reiterated that Iran will continue suspension of its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal, with a further jab at the Europeans.
Western governments' major vice is their arrogance. If the country opposing them is a weak one, their arrogance works; but if it's a country that knows & stands against them, they will be defeated. Regarding our ties with Europeans, what makes problems persist is their arrogance.
— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) July 16, 2019
The European Union launched a Special Purpose Vehicle, known as INSTEX, in February for limited non-dollar trade in Iranian oil and other commodities and goods. Tehran rejected the mechanism because of “humiliating conditions” such as the EU’s concern over Iran’s missile program, activities in the Middle East, and alleged involvement in assassination and bomb plots in Europe.
Europe made 11 commitments, none of which they abided by. We abided by our commitments and even beyond them. Now that we’ve begun to reduce our commitments, they oppose it. How insolent! You didn’t abide by your commitments!
French-Iranian Academic Adelkhah Detained
In their latest detention of a foreign or dual national, Iran’s authorities have arrested French-Iranian academic Fariba Adelkhah.
The French Foreign Ministry confirmed the imprisonment, saying Iranian officials have refused to provide the researcher’s whereabouts and her situation.
France calls on the Iranian authorities to shed full light on Mrs Adelkhah’s situation and repeats its demands, particularly with regard to an immediate authorization for consular access. No satisfactory response has been received until now.
French President Emmanuel Macron said at a news conference in Serbia:
We have been aware of this for some days. I have expressed my disagreement and asked [Iranian] President Rouhani for clarification.
On Sunday, Ali Rabiei, a spokesman for the Rouhani administration, said he was aware of the arrest but did not know why the academic was seized.
Adelkhah is a researcher in anthropology and social sciences at the prestigious Sciences Po in Paris and has worked with the Political Studies Foundation. She is known for her book Being Modern in Iran on changes in the country after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Reports from Iran say she was detained on or about June 5.
Macron has been pursuing a mediation effort to ease US-Iran confrontation and to preserve the 2015 nuclear deal. He spoke with both Donald Trump and Hassan Rouhani last week and sent his top diplomatic envoy Emmanuel Bonne to Tehran for two days.
The Ongoing Detentions
When the nuclear deal with the 5+1 Powers was implemented in January 2016, Iran released four Iranian-American nationals. But since then, Iranian intelligence services and Revolutionary Guards have taken a series of political prisoners.
Other US citizens detained in Iran include oil executive Siamak Namazi and his 82-year-old father Baquer, a former UNICEF official, and historian and Ph.D. candidate Xiyue Wang.
The Namazis have been imprisoned for more than three years. Wang was seized in 2017. All have been given 10-year prison sentences.
Iranian-American-British environmentalist Morad Tahbaz was arrested with eight colleagues in January 2018, and American navy veteran Michael White was imprisoned in July 2018
Karan Vafadari and his wife, Afarin Niasari, art dealers in Tehran, are free on bail while awaiting appeal verdicts. Vafadari is facing a 27-year term and Niasari 16 years.
Nizar Zakka, a Lebanese businessman and permanent US resident, was released last month after serving almost four years of a 10-year sentence.
Swedish-Iranian scientist Ahmedreza Djalali has been sentenced to death, Austrian-Iranian IT specialist Kamran Ghaderi is serving 10 years, and Anglo-Iranian charity Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is being held for five years.
Authorities have also detained permanent residents of other countries such as British Council staffer Aras Amiri (UK) and web designer Saeed Malekpour (Canada).