"What they have said themselves and the claims that have been made are for creating tension and these claims have no value."
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard has dismissed claims by the U.S. that they threatened two U.K. vessels in the Persian Gulf, with Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif saying such claims are an attempt by the U.S. to escalate tensions in the region.
On Thursday, two British ships, Bitish Heritage and HMS Montrose passed through the Strait of Hormuz. However, as Washington's threats of war on Iran increase, two anonymous U.S. officials told Reuters that though the ships passed through, they were violently threatened by Iran.
They claim that Iran “pointed its guns at the boats and warned them over radio,” adding that this amounts to “harassment and an attempt to interfere with the passage.”
Britain has not echoed the allegations from the U.S. regarding the nature of Iran’s supposed threats, however, did claim that “HMS Montrose was forced to position itself between the Iranian vessels and British Heritage and issue verbal warnings to the Iranian vessels, which then turned away.”
Iran says that they did no such thing and that the story is an attempt to ratchet up tensions against Iran. “In the past 24 hours, there has been no encounter with foreign ships, including British ones,” said the Iran Revolutionary Guard in response.
“Those who make such claims attempt to cover up their weak point…Apparently, the British tanker has passed. What they have said themselves and the claims that have been made are for creating tension and these claims have no value,” warned Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif.
The news comes just days after the U.K. seized an Iranian crude oil tanker that was passing through Gibraltar, on the allegation that it was headed to Syria, which is under international sanctions by the EU and the United States.
Tensions have been on the rise over the past few months after the Donald trump administration decided to withdraw from the historic Iran nuclear deal amid intense lobbying from the United Araba Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Israel.
While the United States reimposed sanctions against Iran, the EU has been slow at showing support for the deal, prompting Iran to enrich Uranium beyond the limits set by the deal with the world's powers in an attempt to push the European powers to throw their weight behind the deal and reinforce it despite Trump's actions.