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Germany, France condemn Iran's seizure of British ships

Written by The Associated Press | Jul 20, 2019 8:28 AM
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Photo by (Tasnim News Agency/via AP)

A British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero which was seized by the Iran's Revolutionary Guard on Friday is photographed in the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas, Saturday, July 20, 2019.

(Tehran, Iran) -- Germany says Iran's seizure of a British oil tanker and the brief detention of another is an ``unjustifiable intrusion'' on shipping through a key Persian Gulf route that is increasing tensions in the region.

The Foreign Ministry said today that it ``strongly condemns'' Iran's actions on Friday against the vessels in the Strait of Hormuz. 

The ministry is urging Iran to immediately release the ship and the crew it seized, and said Britain has Germany's support.

It calls the seizure ``an unjustifiable intrusion into the civilian shipping industry which further exacerbates an already strained situation.''

It added that, ``Another regional escalation would be very dangerous; it would also undermine all ongoing efforts to find a way out of the current crisis.''

Earlier, France's foreign ministry called on Iran to quickly free the tanker and its crew, as well as respect freedom of navigation in the Persian Gulf.

The ministry said in a statement today that the seizing of the ship "harms the needed de-escalation of tensions" in the region.

It firmly condemned the action while expressing solidarity with Britain.

Iran said it seized the tanker on Friday in the Strait of Hormuz, at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, in what marked a new escalation of tensions in a crisis over the slow unraveling of the 2015 nuclear accord.

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