Three Australian citizens – two of whom also hold British passports – have been arrested and detained in Iran. Iran has targeted Iranian dual-national citizens in recent years, but the detention of foreign citizens who do not hold Iranian nationality is unusual. The Australian government is leading negotiations with Tehran over the conditions and potential release of all three arrested.
Iran will not talk to the United States until all sanctions imposed on Tehran are lifted, President Hassan Rouhani has said, a day after US President Donald Trump said he would meet his Iranian counterpart to try to end a nuclear standoff. Rouhani’s comments indicated a change of heart, a day after he had expressed readiness to negotiate a way out of the crisis.
Iran has sold the oil on the tanker which was detained by Royal Marines off Gibraltar, an Iranian government spokesperson has said. Iran did not say who it had been sold to but requested that the tanker be sent to the recipient. America has a warrant out for the ship and has warned nations not to accept it. After setting out from Gibraltar, the Adrian Darya first navigated to Greece, which refused to let it refuel.
The Iranian tanker caught in a standoff between Tehran and the West left Gibraltar on Sunday night, shipping data showed, hours after the British territory rejected a U.S. request to detain the vessel further. The tanker’s detention ended last week, but a federal court in Washington on Friday issued a warrant for the seizure of the tanker, the oil it carries and nearly $1 million. Gibraltar said on Sunday it could not comply with that request because it was bound by EU law.
An Iranian supertanker has been released by Gibraltar on Thursday after being held for more than a month on suspicions it was trying to provide crude oil to Bashar Assad’s Syrian regime in violation of European Union sanctions. The Iranian vessel had been held in Gibraltar since July 4 and officials from the Islamic Republic have been demanding its release.
A British-Iranian dual national has been arrested in western Iran, according to his family. The wife of Kameel Ahmady, a social anthropologist, said he was taken into custody on Sunday from their home without a reason being given. Mr Ahmady has researched female genital mutilation and child marriage in Iran, among other subjects. The new alleged arrest comes as high tensions, caused by oil tankers seizures, continue between the two countries.
Iran seized a vessel it accused of smuggling fuel in the Persian Gulf, the third time the Iranian Revolutionary Guards detained a ship in the waterway in recent weeks as the stalemate between the Islamic Republic and the US continues. “The IRGC’s naval forces have seized a foreign oil tanker in the Persian Gulf that was smuggling fuel for some Arab countries,” the paramilitary’s forces commander Ramezan Zirahi said, according to state-run media.
The Trump administration has imposed sanctions on Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, striking at the main diplomatic channel between Iran and the west. The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, said Zarif had been targeted because he acted on behalf of the supreme leader, Ali Khamenei. Zarif responded quickly on Twitter, shrugging off the significance of the US move.
The Royal Navy has been tasked with accompanying British-flagged vessels through the Strait of Hormuz to protect them from Iranian attack. The move comes after the security threat for British-flagged vessels was raised to its highest level following the seizure last Friday of the Stena Impero tanker by Iranian forces as it was passing through Omani waters in the Strait of Hormuz.
Iran, locked in a worsening political standoff with Western powers, has handed down death sentences to several nationals accused of being part of a CIA-trained spy network uncovered earlier this year, an official said on Monday. In Tehran, a senior intelligence official told foreign media that 17 people had been arrested. None of the suspects are dual nationals. U.S. President Donald Trump denounced the Iranian report as “totally false” on Twitter Monday.