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Sun 21 Jul 2019 03:39 PM

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Oman calls for release of British-flagged ship seized by Iran

The Stena Impero was impounded with its 23 crew members aboard at the port of Bandar Abbas after the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps seized it in the Strait of Hormuz

Oman calls for release of British-flagged ship seized by Iran
Iran says it seized the tanker for breaking "international maritime rules".

Oman called on Sunday for the release of a British-flagged tanker detained by Iran and urged London and Tehran to resolve their dispute with diplomacy.

Oman "looks forward to the Iranian government's release of the British ship", the foreign ministry said on Twitter.

The Stena Impero was impounded with its 23 crew members aboard at the port of Bandar Abbas after the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps seized it in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday.

Oman, which maintains strong ties with Iran, called on the Islamic republic and the United Kingdom "to resolve their differences through diplomatic channels".

The sultanate said it was in contact with all parties to guarantee the safety of commercial ships in the Strait of Hormuz, a chokepoint for about a third of the world's sea-borne oil.

On Saturday, Britain urged Tehran to de-escalate tensions in the Gulf by releasing the tanker it said had been illegally seized in Omani waters.

Iran, which says it seized the tanker for breaking "international maritime rules", remained defiant to US and European calls to release the ship and has launched an investigation.

Tensions in the Gulf have soared since May, with US President Donald Trump calling off air strikes against Iran at the last minute in June after the Islamic republic downed a US drone.

The United States has also blamed Iran for multiple attacks on tankers in the Gulf.

Oman's Sultan Qaboos adheres to a strict policy of non-interference in regional affairs, maintaining relations with rivals Saudi Arabia - a staunch US ally - and Iran.