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UK accuses Iran of breaking deal with oil transfer to Syria – Gulf tensions

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“This sale of oil to brutal [Syrian] regime is part of a pattern of behaviour by the Government of Iran designed to disrupt regional security,” British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab says. Britain‘s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab says “Iran has shown complete disregard for its own assurances over Adrian Darya 1.” (Reuters) Tuesday, September 10

Iran reneged on promise by transferring oil to Syria – UK

Britain summoned the Iranian ambassador on Tuesday to condemn what it said was a clear breach of the assurances it was given over the oil cargo of the tanker Adrian Darya 1, which had previously been detained for breaching EU sanctions.

Iran has shown complete disregard for its own assurances over Adrian Darya 1,” Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said in a statement, accusing Iran of reneging on a promise not to transfer oil from the tanker to Syria.

“This sale of oil to brutal (Syrian) regime is part of a pattern of behaviour by the Government of Iran designed to disrupt regional security.”

Britain said it would raise the issue at the United Nations later this month. 

Iran's failure to address IAEA concerns 'unacceptable' – US

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday accused Iran of “possible undeclared nuclear activities,” as the UN's nuclear watchdog presses Tehran for answers on its atomic safeguards.

The Iranian regime's lack of full cooperation with @iaeaorg raises questions about possible undeclared nuclear material or activities,” Pompeo tweeted.

The world won't fall for it. We will deny the regime all paths to a nuclear weapon.”

The US, however, repeated it remained open to talks with Tehran on a “comprehensive deal.”

Monday, September 9

Netanyahu claims Iran has a secret nuclear weapon site 

Israel's prime minister has unveiled what he says is a previously undisclosed Iranian nuclear weapons site.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Benjamin Netanyahu said the facility was discovered from records that Israel said it had seized from an Iranian nuclear warehouse early last year.

He showed a satellite photo of the facility in the southern Fars province's Abadeh area in June, followed by a second photo of what he said was the site being destroyed in July after the Iranians realized they'd been discovered.

“Today we reveal that yet another secret nuclear site was exposed in the archives that we brought from Tehran,” Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu, a fierce critic of the international nuclear deal with Iran, says Tehran is trying to develop a nuclear weapon — a charge Iran denies.

Israel knows what you're doing, Israel knows when you're doing it, and Israel knows where you're doing it,” Netanyahu said.

'Respond promptly' to questions – IAEA to Tehran

The acting head of the UN nuclear watchdog on Monday called on Iran to “respond promptly” to the agency's questions regarding Tehran's nuclear programme.

Cornel Feruta was addressing the quarterly board meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) a day after meeting high-level Iranian officials in Tehran.

He said that in his meetings he “stressed the need for Iran to respond promptly to Agency questions related to the completeness of Iran's safeguards declarations,” adding: “Time is of the essence.”

Earlier on Monday, IAEA confirmed that Iran was installing advanced centrifuges, a move that puts further pressure on the troubled 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

Sunday, September 8

Traces of uranium found at secret warehouse

Samples taken by the UN nuclear watchdog at what Israel's prime minister called a “secret atomic warehouse” in Tehran showed traces of uranium that Iran has yet to explain, two diplomats who follow the agency's inspections work closely say.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is investigating the particles' origin and has asked Iran to explain the traces. But Tehran has not done so, according to the diplomats, stoking tensions between Washington and Tehran

In a speech a year ago Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who vehemently opposed the deal, called on the IAEA to visit the site immediately, saying it had housed 15 kg (33 lb) of unspecified radioactive material that had since been removed.

Reuters first reported in April that the IAEA, which is policing the nuclear deal, had inspected the site – a step it had said it takes “only when necessary” – and environmental samples taken there were sent off for analysis.

Israeli and US media have since reported that the samples turned up traces of radioactive material or matter – the same vague language used by Netanyahu.

Those traces were, however, of uranium, the diplomats said – the same element Iran is enriching and one of only two fissile elements with which one can make the core of a nuclear bomb.

One diplomat said the uranium was not highly enriched, meaning it was not purified to a level anywhere close to that needed for weapons.

There are lots of possible explanations,” that diplomat said. But since Iran has not yet given any to the IAEA it is hard to verify the particles' origin, and it is also not clear whether the traces are remnants of material or activities that predate the landmark 2015 deal or more recent, diplomats say.

The IAEA did not respond to a request for comment.

Iranian officials were not available to comment. 

US will continue to impose sanctions

The United States will continue to impose sanctions on whoever purchases Iran's oil or conducts business with Iran's Revolutionary Guards and no oil waivers will be re-issued, a US official told Reuters on Sunday.

“We will continue to put pressure on Iran and as President (Trump) said there will be no waivers of any kind for Iran's oil,” said Sigal Mandelker, US Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.

Mandelker added that Iranian oil sales have taken a “serious nose dive” because of US pressure.

Detained British tanker may be released 'soon'

Iran may soon release a detained British tanker after the completion of legal steps, state television reported on Sunday.

“I hope the procedures will be completed soon and this tanker will be released,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi told the station.

The state television also reported that Mousavi said an Iranian tanker “has gone to its destination” and “the oil has been sold. 

The Adrian Darya oil tanker finally docked on the Mediterranean coast ..and unloaded its cargo,” IRNA quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman, Abbas Mousavi, as saying.

Iran says Europe failing to save nuclear deal

The head of Iran's nuclear program, Ali Akbar Salehi, said the European Union has so far failed to carry out its commitments under the 2015 deal, which promised relief from trade sanctions in return for curbing the country's nuclear program.

Salehi said the EU “was supposed to fill the vacuum” in enforcing the deal, but “unfortunately they could not.” He said compliance with the deal is not a “one-way road.

“Unfortunately the European parties have failed to fulfil their commitments…The deal is not a one-way street and Iran will act accordingly as we have done so far by gradually downgrading our commitments,” said Salehi said, speaking after meeting the acting head of the US nuclear watchdog (IAEA), Cornel Feruta.

Iran will continue to reduce its nuclear commitments as long as the other parties fail to carry out their commitments.” 

Feruta, Zarif meet 

Feruta, also met Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Sunday who said Iran's reduction of commitments under its 2015 nuclear deal were allowed under the accord, according to reports by the semi-official Fars   news agency.

Zarif said that Iran was acting under paragraph 36 of the accord, Fars   reported. Iranian officials say the paragraph allows one party to the deal to cut its commitments if others do not live up to theirs.

Feruta reiterated that IAEA would carry out its verification activities in a “professional and impartial” manner, Fars added.

The IAEA's 35-nation Board of Governors will discuss Iran at a quarterly meeting that begins on Monday.

Saturday, September 7

Iran fires up advanced centrifuges in latest nuclear step

Iran has started up advanced centrifuges to boost its stockpile of enriched uranium but will allow the UN atomic agency to continue monitoring its nuclear programme,  spokesman for Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation Behrouz Kamalvandi said.

He said the agency had activated 20 IR-4 and 20 IR-6 centrifuges as a third step in the Islamic republic's reduction of its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal.

The centrifuge machines, as they are engaged in research and development, will help with increasing the stockpile,” he said.

The capacity of these machines is many times more than the previous machines. This started as of yesterday (Friday),” he told reporters.

Iran seizes ship for alleged fuel-smuggling

Iran's coast guard has seized a vessel for allegedly smuggling fuel in the Gulf and detained its 12 crew members from the Philippines, the semi-official news agency ISNA reported.

The vessel was carrying nearly 284,000 litres of diesel, the news agency said on Saturday.

Satellite images show Iran oil tanker off Syria

Earlier, the once-detained Iranian oil tanker pursued by the US appeared to be off the coast of Syria, where Tehran reportedly promised the vessel would not go when authorities in Gibraltar agreed to release it several weeks ago, according to satellite images obtained Saturday by The Associated Press.

The images obtained early Saturday from Maxar Technologies appeared to show the vessel off Syria's coast, some 3.7 kilometres off shore under intermittent cloud cover.

Iranian and Syrian officials have not acknowledged the vessel's presence there. 

Friday, September 6

Iran to host IAEA officials in Tehran

The acting chief of the UN nuclear watchdog policing Iran's nuclear deal with major powers, Cornel Feruta, will meet senior Iranian officials in Tehran on Sunday, a spokesman for the International Atomic Energy Agency said on Friday.

The visit is part of ongoing interactions between the IAEA and Iran,” the spokesman said.

The trip comes before a quarterly meeting of the IAEA's 35-nation Board of Governors next week and after an IAEA report suggested Iran's cooperation with the agency was less than ideal, saying: “Ongoing interactions between the Agency and Iran … require full and timely cooperation by Iran. The Agency continues to pursue this objective with Iran.” 

Iran defends nuclear measures

Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif on Friday defended his country's plan to take further steps away from the 2015 nuclear accord with world powers.

He said this was justified because it was in response to US sanctions.

The measures that we have taken have been prescribed in the JCPOA (nuclear accord), in paragraph 36, as remedies for the US withdrawal, its reimposition of illegal restrictions on Iran, which we call economic terrorism,” he said.  

Iran says next step belongs to Europe

Iran has yet to say officially what exact steps it will take, as a deadline it gave Europeans to salvage the deal is to expire on Friday

However, centrifuges that speed up uranium enrichment would further shorten the time Tehran would need to to build a nuclear weapon were it to choose to do so.

Thursday, September 5

Iran to provide details of latest nuclear move Saturday

Iran will announce details on Saturday of its latest scaling back of its commitments under the nuclear deal in response to the sweeping US sanctions, the ISNA news agency reported.

Atomic energy organisation spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi will hold a news conference to set out the details of Iran's third cut in its nuclear commitments since May, ISNA said on Thursday.

President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday that the new steps included abandoning all limits set by the 2015 deal to Iran's nuclear research and development.

Also on Thursday, EU urged Iran to “reverse” scaleback from nuclear deal.

These activities we consider are inconsistent with the JCPOA (the nuclear accord). And in this context we urge Iran to reverse these steps and refrain from further measures that undermine the nuclear deal,” European Commission spokesman Carlos Martin Ruiz de Gordejuela told a media briefing in Brussels.

Iran's Zarif tweets: US treasury is nothing more than a “jail warden”

The US treasury is nothing more than a “jail warden”, Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif tweeted on Thursday, a day after Washington imposed fresh sanctions designed to choke off the smuggling of Iranian oil.

“OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control of US Treasury) is nothing more than a JAIL WARDEN: Ask for reprieve (waiver), get thrown in solitary for the audacity. Ask again and you might end up in the gallows,” Zarif wrote on his Twitter account.

US adds new sanctions and rewards to further pressure Iran

The Trump administration stepped up pressure on Iran on Wednesday, imposing sanctions on an oil shipping network with ties to Iran's Revolutionary Guard and offering a reward of up to $15 million for anyone with information that could disrupt its faltering economy even further.

In announcing these new steps, US officials appeared to dampen expectations for European-led efforts to salvage the remainder of the nuclear deal.

There will be more sanctions coming,” Brian Hook, the US special envoy for Iran, told reporters at the State Department. “We can't make it any more clear that we are committed to this campaign of maximum pressure.”

Wednesday, September 4

Rouhani says Iran to develop nuclear centrifuges

Iran will from Friday begin developing centrifuges to speed up the enrichment of uranium, as the next step in scaling back its nuclear commitments, President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday.

He ordered all limits on nuclear research and development to be lifted, the country's third step in scaling down its commitments to a 2015 deal with world powers.

“I, as of now, announce the third step,” he said on state television. 

The atomic energy organisation (of Iran) is ordered to immediately start whatever is needed in the field of research and development, and abandon all the commitments that were in place regarding research and development.”

Iran in July abandoned two other nuclear commitments: to keep its stockpile of enriched uranium below 300-kilogrammes, and a 3.67-percent cap on the purity of its uranium stocks.

US slaps sanctions on Iran shipping network

The United States imposed sanctions on a shipping network it said was run by Iran's Revolutionary Guard, saying it sold millions of barrels of oil to benefit Syrian regime leader Bashar al-Assad.

The sanctions on 16 entities, 10 people and 11 vessels were announced just as Iran was threatening to cut further its commitments under a nuclear deal unless the United States eases its pressure.

Tuesday, September 3

Iran set to make new cut in nuclear commitments

President Hassan Rouhani reiterated a threat that Tehran would take additional steps away from the 2015 nuclear accord on Friday and accelerate nuclear activities if Europe fails to provide a solution, calling it Iran's third, “most important step” away from the deal.

Iran and three European countries – Britain, France and Germany – have been engaged in talks to save a 2015 nuclear deal that has been unravelling since the US withdrew from it in May last year.

“I don't think that… we will reach a deal so we'll take the third step and we will announce the details today or tomorrow,” Rouhani told a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

“If we had 20 issues of disagreement with the Europeans in the past, today there are three issues,” he said.

“Most of them have been resolved but we haven't reached a final agreement.”

European credit line to Iran

The idea of a phased credit line to pre-purchase Iranian oil has been floated amid the diplomatic efforts, something Araghchi reiterated.

Europe, Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said, needs to compensate Iran in the “amount of $15 billion over a 4-month span” and “after that, Iran is ready for talks.”

Araghchi was quoted by the official IRNA news agency as saying “it is unlikely European countries can take an effective step” before the deadline.

Iran frees British sailors 

Iran will free seven crew members of the detained British tanker Stena Impero, Iranian state television reported on Wednesday.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi told the TV that the seven were freed on humanitarian grounds and could leave Iran soon.

The Stena Impero was detained by Tehran on July 19, two weeks after Britain detained an Iranian tanker off the territory of Gibraltar. The Iranian ship was released in August.

Monday, September 2

Iran’s Zarif warns EU

Iran said it would further scale back its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal if EU signatories failed to shield Tehran’s economy from US sanctions reimposed by President Donald Trump after exiting the deal last year.

“It is meaningless to continue unilateral commitments to the deal if we don’t enjoy its benefits as promised by the deal’s European parties,” Foreign Minister Zarif said in a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart in Moscow.

“We have agreed to make further efforts and take more measures to protect economic projects with Iran and to gain independence from payments in dollars,” Sergey Lavrov said.

Saturday, August 31

US sanctions Iranian oil tanker Adrian Darya

US sanctioned an Iranian oil tanker previously held for weeks by Gibraltar and released despite Washington's efforts to keep it detained.

The US Department of Treasury said the vessel, previously known as Grace 1, is “blocked property” under an anti-terrorist order, and “anyone providing support to the Adrian Darya 1 risks being sanctioned.”

Two weeks ago, US threatened a visa ban on the crew of the tanker.

Washington says the vessel is carrying crude ultimately benefiting Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which it has blacklisted as a terrorist organisation.

Friday, August 30

IAEA says Iran violating nuclear deal

The UN atomic watchdog says Iran is still in violation of limitations set by the 2015 nuclear deal with major powers.

In a confidential quarterly report distributed to member states, the International Atomic Energy Agency said on Friday that Iran's stockpile of low-enriched uranium still exceeds the amount allowed by the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

It said Iran continues to enrich uranium to 4.5 percent, above the 3.67 percent allowed.

The violations were announced by Iran, and confirmed by the IAEA last month, and are meant to put pressure on the signatories to the JCPOA to provide new economic incentives to help offset new tough American sanctions.

The IAEA says Iran has continued to permit its inspectors to monitor its nuclear facilities.

Iranian tanker destination remains obscure

An Iranian oil tanker pursued by the US on Friday again listed its destination as Turkey but the Turkish foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said it is certain the tanker is not coming to a Turkish port.

The flurry of contradictory statements further muddies the waters for the Adrian Darya 1, formerly known as the Grace 1, and obscures where its 2.1 million barrels of oil will ultimately go.

Iran tanker headed to Lebanon: Turkey

Iranian tanker Adrian Darya 1, released after being detained for six weeks by the British overseas territory of Gibraltar, is now headed for Lebanon, Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Friday

Lebanon said it had not been informed of the tanker's direction.

“This tanker is not heading actually to Iskenderun [in Turkey], this tanker is heading to Lebanon,” Cavusoglu said during a visit to Oslo, referring to the vessel.

The minister did not specify whether Lebanon was the tanker's final destination.

“We still buy gas from Iran, but we don't buy oil,” Cavusoglu stressed, adding that Turkey was monitoring the vessel's progress “very closely.”

Lebanon has not been informed whether an Iranian oil tanker, at the centre of a USIran confrontation, was heading to one of its ports, the finance minister said.

“We have not been informed of the Iranian oil tanker Adrian Darya heading [here],” Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil said.

Thursday, August 29

EU backs USIran talks but says nuclear deal must stay

“We are always in favour of talks, the more people talk, the more people understand each other better, on the basis of clarity and on the basis of respect,” EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini said as she arrived for the Helsinki meeting.

But she added that “first and foremost what is existing needs to be preserved” – referring to UN Security Council resolutions and specifically the 2015 deal known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA.

The idea of direct talks between Washington and Tehran as a way out of the crisis grew this week after Trump mooted the idea and the new US defence secretary urged Iran's leaders to engage.

Iran says no talks with US unless it lifts sanctions

Zarif says Iran's supreme leader will not meet Trump unless Washington halts its “economic terrorism” that has hurt ordinary Iranians.

Zarif says the removal of US sanctions could also help salvage the Iranian nuclear deal, which the US unilaterally withdrew from last year.

He says Tehran has the right to reduce its compliance under the nuclear pact after the US left but it can easily “revert back to full implementation” if the US fulfils its commitment and returns to the table.

He told a forum in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday that “you do not negotiate with terrorists.

If they want to negotiate, they have to abandon terrorism,” in reference to the rollback of sanctions.

Tuesday, August 27

Japan minister says he hopes to ease Mideast tension

Japan will try to help ease tension in the Middle East, Foreign Minister Taro Kono said on Tuesday at a meeting with Zarif.

Zarif said he looked forward to discussions with Kono as both countries had special interests in the security of the energy market and stability in the Gulf.

“We are worried about tension in the Middle East and we hope to make some diplomatic effort to ease the tension,” Kono told reporters as he stood with Zarif.

“We wanted to have a direct and frank conversation with you today,” he said to Zarif.

Japan has historically had friendly ties with Iran and is also a close US ally.

Iran dampens down prospect of TrumpRouhani meeting

Rouhani told the US to “take the first step” by lifting all sanctions against Iran, dampening down the likelihood of meeting US counterpart Trump

Zarif said the prospects for such a meeting were “unimaginable” even if the US rejoins a landmark nuclear deal with Iran.

Trump had said less than 24 hours earlier he was ready to meet with Rouhani within weeks, in a potential breakthrough reached during a G7 summit in the French seaside resort of Biarritz.

Monday, August 26

Iran says it has sold oil from tanker released by Gibraltar

An Iranian government spokesman says the oil aboard an Iranian tanker pursued by the US has been sold to an unnamed buyer.

The Adrian Darya, previously known as the Grace 1, carries 2.1 million barrels of crude, worth some $130 million.

Ali Rabiei made the announcement at a news conference on Monday in Tehran. He says the buyer of the oil will decide the ship's ultimate destination.

The tanker was held for weeks off Gibraltar after being seized by authorities there on suspicion of violating EU sanctions on Syria.

The US has a warrant in federal court to seize the ship and has been warning nations not to accept it.

The ship is still in the Mediterranean Sea heading east.

Iranian tanker no longer has Turkey destination – shipping data

Adrian Darya 1, the Iranian tanker at the centre of a confrontation between Washington and Tehran, is no longer recorded as heading for Turkey, Refinitiv Eikon shipping data showed on Monday, having switched to a Turkish destination at the weekend.

The vessel, fully laden with oil, had previously been heading to the port of Kalamata in southern Greece but Greece had said it would not offer any facilities to the tanker.

Shipping data on Saturday had then indicated the vessel was to dock at the southern Turkish port of Mersin on August 31.

On Monday, Refinitiv Eikon data did not specify any destination for the Adrian Darya.

Saturday, August 24

Iranian oil tanker pursued by US says it's going to Turkey

The Iranian-flagged oil tanker pursued by the US amid heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington changed its listed destination to a port in Turkey after Greece said it wouldn't risk its relations with America by aiding it.

The crew of the Adrian Darya 1 updated its listed destination in its Automatic Identification System to Mersin, a port city in Turkey's south and home to an oil terminal.

Mersin is some 200 kilometres (125 miles) northwest of a refinery in Baniyas, Syria, where authorities alleged the Adrian Darya had been heading before being seized off Gibraltar in early July.

Friday, August 23

Nuclear talks with Macron were 'productive' – Zarif

Iran's foreign minister said talks he held on Friday with French President Emmanuel Macron about a landmark 2015 nuclear deal were “productive”, according to the ILNA news agency.

France had presented some suggestions and we presented some suggestions about how to carry out [the nuclear deal] and the steps that both sides need to take,” Zarif, said.

The talks were good and productive, of course it depends on how the European Union can carry out the commitments within [the nuclear deal] and also the commitments that they made after [the nuclear deal] and America's exit.”

It is not possible to renegotiate the nuclear deal, Zarif said, according to ILNA

Thursday, August 22

Will aggressively enforce sanctions over tanker – US  

The US will aggressively enforce its sanctions to prevent the private sector from assisting an Iranian oil tanker that is travelling through the Mediterranean and that Washington wants to be seized, a State Department official said on Thursday.

The shipping sector is on notice that we will aggressively enforce US sanctions,” the official said, days after warning countries not to allow the tanker to dock.

Ship tracking data has shown the ship, Adrian Darya 1 last heading toward Greece, although Greece's prime minister said it was not heading to his country.

“All parties in the shipping sector should conduct appropriate due diligence to ensure that they are not doing business with nor facilitating business for, directly or indirectly, sanctioned parties or with sanctioned cargo,” the official warned.

Prepared to work on French nuclear deal proposals – Zarif

Iran is prepared to work on French proposals to salvage the international nuclear deal that Tehran signed with world powers in 2015, Zarif said.

There are proposals on the table, both from the French and the Iranian side, and we are going to work on those proposals tomorrow,” he said at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs.

French President Emmanuel Macron offered on Wednesday to either soften sanctions on Iran or provide “a compensation mechanism to enable the Iranian people to live better” in return for full compliance with the pact, which the US quit last year.

Zarif added: “I'm looking forward to having a serious conversation with President Macron about possibilities to move forward.”

He had said on Monday he would meet Macron and Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in Paris on Friday.

Zarif also addressed the US' efforts to create a security operation, which so far Britain, Australia and Bahrain have joined, to guard shipping in the Strait of Hormuz, a vital gateway for the global oil industry.

“It's clear that the US' intention..(of having a) naval presence in the Persian Gulf is to counter Iran. Don't expect us to remain quiet when somebody comes to our waters and threatens us,” Zarif said.

'Talks are useless' in dealing with USIran's president 

Iran's president struck a muscular tone on dealings with the US, saying “talks are useless” as Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers crumbles further.

Rouhani made the comment in a speech in Tehran during the unveiling of the Bavar-373, a long-range surface-to-air missile system that he described as an improvement to the Russian S-300.

“Now that our enemies do not accept logic, we cannot respond with logic,” Rouhani said in the televised speech.

He added: “When the enemy launches a missile against us, we cannot give a speech and say: 'Mr Rocket, please do not hit our country and our innocent people. Rocket-launching sir, if you can please hit a button and self-destroy the missile in the air.'”

On Wednesday, Iran's state TV reported that the Bavar-373 is able to recognise up to 100 targets at the same time and confront them with six different weapons.

Since 1992, Iran has developed a homegrown defence industry that has produced light and heavy weapons ranging from mortars and torpedoes to tanks and submarines.

The US re-imposed sanctions on Iran after the Trump administration pulled out of the nuclear deal over concerns about Iran's missile program and regional influence.

Trump argued that the accord did not limit Iran's ballistic missile programme.

Iran displays domestically built mobile missile defence system

Iran displayed what it described as a domestically-built long-range, surface-to-air missile air defence system.

Iran shot down a US military surveillance drone in the Gulf with a surface-to-air missile in June. It says the drone was over its territory, but the US says it was in international airspace.

State television showed an unveiling ceremony for the mobile Bavar-373 system, which Iranian media have described as a competitor to the Russian S-300 missile system.

“With this long-range air defence system, we can detect … targets or planes at more than 300 km (190 miles), lock it at about 250 km, and destroy it at 200 km,” Defence Minister Amir Hatami told state television.

The system's unveiling came on Iran's National Defence Industry Day. 

Wednesday, August 21

Greece closes ports to Iranian oil tanker

Greece said on Wednesday it won't endanger its relations with the US by aiding an Iranian supertanker sought by the US but released by Gibraltar that's currently in the Mediterranean Sea, believed heading for a Greek port.

Deputy Foreign Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis said Athens is under pressure from US authorities, which claim the Iran-flagged Adrian Darya 1 is tied to a sanctioned organisation.

He told private Antenna TV that the 330-metre tanker is too big anyway to enter any Greek port and can't legally unload its $130 million worth of light crude at EU refineries.

The vessel can still enter Greek waters or anchor offshore, in which case Athens will “see” what it will do, Varvitsiotis added.

Tuesday, August 20

Pompeo warns action

The United States will take every action it can to prevent an Iranian tanker from delivering oil to Syria in contravention of US sanctions, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned. 

“We have made clear that anyone who touches it, anyone who supports it, anyone who allows a ship to dock is at risk of receiving sanctions from the United States,” Pompeo told reporters. 

“If that ship again heads to Syria we will take every action we can consistent with those sanctions to prevent that.” 

The Adrian Darya – formerly the Grace 1 – left Gibraltar on August 18 and ship-tracking data showed the vessel was heading toward the Greek port of Kalamta.

'No request' from Iran tanker to dock in Greece – minister

Athens has received no request from the Iranian tanker Adrian Darya to dock in Greece, Merchant Marine Minister Ioannis Plakiotakis said Tuesday after a maritime tracker gave the ship's “reported destination” as the Greek port of Kalamata.

There is officially no request concerning the arrival of the Iranian tanker in a Greek port,” Plakiotakis told Greek media.

“We are following its progress and are working with the Greek foreign minister,” he said.

The website Marine Traffic placed the supertanker carrying 2.1 million barrels of oil some 100 kilometres northwest of the Algerian port of Oran.

Monday, August 19

Iran warns US against seizing tanker

Iran said it warned Washington through the Swiss embassy in Tehran, which represents prior US interests, against trying to seize the tanker again.

Iran has given necessary warnings to American officials through its official channels… not to make such a mistake because it would have grave consequences,” foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said.

Speaking to reporters at a news conference, he dismissed the notion that there was a link between the seizure of the Iranian tanker off Gibraltar and the British-flagged tanker in the Gulf.

There is no connection whatsoever between these two vessels,” said Mousavi.  

The court is looking into it. We hope the (investigation) is completed as soon as possible and the verdict is issued.”

Zarif rules out talks with US over a new nuclear deal

Zarif said Iran is not interested in talks with Washington, but any mediation should focus on bringing the United States back to the 2015 nuclear deal which it left last year.

Zarif was speaking in Finland after meeting Foreign Affairs Minister Pekka Haavisto, who said Europe was doing its best to salvage the deal.

Iranian tanker sought by US heading toward Greece

An Iranian supertanker hauling $130 million worth of light crude oil that the US suspected to be tied to a sanctioned organisation lifted its anchor and begun moving away from Gibraltar, marine traffic monitoring data showed. 

The Iran-flagged Adrian Darya 1, previously named Grace 1, set course for Kalamata, Greece, with an estimated arrival on August 25, according to ship-tracking service MarineTraffic. It wasn't immediately clear why the tanker would be heading there or whether the destination could change.

The vessel had been detained for a month in the British overseas territory for allegedly attempting to breach European Union sanctions on Syria.

Sunday, August 18

Adrian Darya-1 expected to leave Gibraltar Sunday night – Iran

Iran's ambassador to Britain said the Iranian tanker caught in a stand-off between Tehran and the West is expected to leave the British territory of Gibraltar on Sunday night.

“With the arrival of two specialised engineering teams to Gibraltar … the vessel is expected to leave tonight,” Hamid Baeidinejad said on Twitter.

British Royal Marines seized the vessel in Gibraltar in July on suspicion that it was carrying oil to Syria, a close ally of Iran, in violation of European Union sanctions.

Gibraltar rejects US pressure to hold Iranian oil tanker

Authorities in Gibraltar say they are rejecting the United States' renewed request that the British overseas territory not release an Iranian supertanker.

The vessel has been detained for over a month in Gibraltar for allegedly attempting to breach European Union sanctions on Syria.

In a statement Sunday, Gibraltar's government said the ship would be free to go, as US sanctions on Iran had no equivalent in the United Kingdom or the rest of the EU.

The US had unsealed a warrant on Friday to seize the vessel, a day after Gibraltar lifted the ship's detention.

The vessel remains at anchor off Gibraltar, laden with 2.1 million barrels of Iranian light crude oil.

A new crew is expected to arrive and sail the tanker to an undisclosed destination as early as Sunday.

Saturday, August 17

Iranian tanker to leave Gibraltar soon 

The United States faced an against-the-clock legal battle to re-seize an Iranian supertanker caught in a diplomatic standoff before the vessel's shipping agent said Saturday he would go ahead with the ship's planned departure from Gibraltar on Sunday or Monday.

The head of the company sorting paperwork and procuring for the Grace 1 oil tanker in the British overseas territory said the vessel could be sailing away in the next “24 to 48 hours,” once new crews dispatched to the territory take over command of the ship.

The vessel is ongoing some logistical changes and requirements that have delayed the departure,” Astralship managing director Richard De la Rosa told The Associated Press.

He said the new crews were Indian and Ukrainian nationals hired by the Indian managers of the ship and that his company had not been informed about the supertanker's next destination.

Iran tanker shifts position but still at anchor off Gibraltar

An Iranian tanker caught in the standoff between Tehran and the West shifted position on Saturday, but its anchor was still down off Gibraltar and it was unclear if it was ready to set sail soon.

Gibraltar authorities could not be reached for comment.

The Grace 1 was seized by British Royal Marines at the western mouth of the Mediterranean on July 4 on suspicion of violating European Union sanctions by taking oil to Syria, a close ally of Iran.

Gibraltar lifted the detention order on Thursday but the vessel’s fate was further complicated by the US, which made a last-ditch legal appeal to hold it.

Friday, August 16

US announces warrant to seize Iranian supertanker Grace 1

The US Justice Department unveiled a warrant on Friday for the seizure of the Iranian oil supertanker Grace 1, one day after a Gibraltar judge allowed the release of the detained vessel.

The warrant says the vessel, all the oil aboard and $995,000 are subject to forfeiture based on violations of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), and bank fraud, money laundering, and terrorism forfeiture statutes.

Gibraltar's chief minister confirms Grace 1 release

An Iranian tanker whose detention exacerbated friction between Tehran and the West could sail free from British territory Gibraltar on Friday, though a US request to halt its passage could drag the saga back into court.

The Grace 1 was seized by British Royal Marine commandos in darkness at the western mouth of the Mediterranean on July 4 on suspicion of violating European Union sanctions by taking oil to Syria, a close ally of Iran.

Gibraltar Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said the decision to lift the detention order came after written assurances from Tehran that the ship would not discharge its oil in Syria.

Picardo said the US could still begin a new legal procedure for seizing the Grace 1, but that provisions under the European Union's sanctions regulations were ending on Thursday.

Iran denied commitments in exchange for tanker release saying the vessel was not destined for Syria in the first place.

US to revoke visas held by crew of Iranian ship

US State Department said it will revoke US visas for crew members on the Iranian oil tanker. 

The department stated that it intends to fully enforce all US sanctions related to Iranian oil exports despite the decision by Gibraltar to allow the ship to leave.

Thursday, August 15

Gibraltar frees Iranian vessel

Gibraltar’s Supreme Court ruled to release an Iranian supertanker seized last month on suspicion of shipping oil to Syria in breach of EU sanctions, despite a last-minute US request to detain the vessel. 

Chief Justice Anthony Dudley said that since Iran had guaranteed in writing that the Grace 1 “was never destined to an EU sanctioned entity… there are no longer reasonable grounds to suspect that the detention of the Vessel is required.”

He added that the court had not received a written detention request from the United States.

US asks Gibraltar to keep Iranian tanker in detention

The US requested that Gibraltar hold in detention an Iranian supertanker at the centre of a stand-off between Tehran and London that sparked tensions in the oil-rich Gulf.

The British overseas territory's Supreme Court was set to release the Grace 1, when the US Department of Justice applied for the vessel to be seized.

The move was announced by attorney Joseph Triay and delayed the court decision on the vessel's fate. 

Triay did not detail the basis for the US request other than as “mutual legal assistance”.

Gibraltar's Supreme Court Chief Justice Anthony Dudley made clear that were it not for the US move, “the ship would have sailed”.

Wednesday, August 14

Gibraltar to reportedly release Iran tanker on Thursday

The British territory of Gibraltar will on Thursday release an Iranian oil tanker seized by Royal Marines in the Mediterranean in July, T he Sun newspaper reported, citing sources close to Gibraltar Chief Minister Fabian Picardo.

Picardo would not apply to renew an order to detain Grace 1, the report said, adding that he is now satisfied that the oil tanker is no longer heading to Syria.

Britain had said the vessel was violating European sanctions by taking oil to Syria, a charge Iran denies.

There is no reason to keep Grace 1 in Gibraltar a moment longer if we no longer believe it is in breach of sanctions against the Syrian regime,” the newspaper quoted a source close to Picardo as saying.  

Tuesday, August 13

Iran, Gibraltar bicker over Grace 1

A Gibraltarian government source denied an Iranian news agency report which said the Iranian oil tanker Grace 1 would be leaving the British overseas territory on Tuesday.

British Royal Marines seized the tanker on July 4 off the coast of the British Mediterranean territory of Gibraltar on suspicion of violating EU sanctions by taking oil to Syria, which Tehran denies.

Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency quoted unidentified Gibraltar authorities as saying the tanker would bee freed on Tuesday evening.

A senior Gibraltarian government source said that report was not correct. 

In touch with Britain over seized tanker – Iran 

Iran's port authority said it has been in contact with British authorities as part of efforts to secure the release of its tanker.

A court in Gibraltar is to decide the fate of the ship on Thursday, when an order for its detention lapses.

The deputy head of Iran's port authority, Jalil Eslami, said in a report by state news agency IRNA that Britain had shown an interest in overcoming the problem and documents had been exchanged.

Gibraltar seeks to ease tanker standoff with Iran

Gibraltar said it was seeking to de-escalate issues arising with Iran since the detention of the Grace 1 tanker.

“We continue to seek to de-escalate issues arising since the lawful detention of Grace 1,” a spokesman for Gibraltar said. 

The current detention order on the vessel expires on Saturday night, the spokesman said.

Saturday, August 10

Iran unveils 'overhauled' air defence system

Iran unveiled a new air defence system it says is capable of detecting missiles and drones at a range of 400 kilometres (250 miles), ISNA news agency reported.

The “Falagh” is a locally overhauled version of the imported “Gamma” surveillance radar, the semi-official news agency said, in an apparent reference to a Russian-made system of that name.

It had been inoperable due to “sanctions, lack of spare parts and the inability of foreign engineers to carry out repairs”, it added.

Friday, August

Iran warns against  Israeli involvement in maritime coalition

Any Israeli involvement in a maritime coalition in the Gulf is a “clear threat” to Iran's national security and it has a right to confront the threat, Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Friday, according to a statement on the ministry's website.

Israeli media quoted Foreign Minister Israel Katz as telling a closed-door meeting on Tuesday that Israel was part of discussions and intelligence-sharing with a possible US maritime security coalition. Israeli officials declined to confirm or deny the reports. 

Thursday, August 8

Iran says US mission will 'increase insecurity'

Iran's defence minister said the formation of a US-led flotilla in the Gulf would “increase insecurity” and any Israeli involvement would have “disastrous consequences” for the region.

The military coalition that America is seeking to form with the excuse of securing maritime transport will only increase insecurity in the region,” Defence Minister Amir Hatami said in a conference call with counterparts from Kuwait, Oman and Qatar.

Reacting to reports of Israeli willingness to join the coalition, he said it would be “highly provocative and can have disastrous consequences for the region.”

Calling the US the main source of tensions in the region, Hatami called on Gulf countries to enter “constructive talks” to provide maritime security by themselves.

US asks for transit plans

Washington said that US-flagged commercial vessels should send their transit plans for the Strait of Hormuz and Gulf waters to US and British naval authorities ahead of time. This comes from the US Maritime Administration in an advisory on Iran threats.

“Heightened military activity and increased political tensions in this region continue to pose serious threats to commercial vessels,” said the advisory.

Vessels should also alert the US Navy's Fifth Fleet and the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations in the event of any incident or suspicious activity, it added, saying that crews should not forcibly resist any Iranian boarding party.

Tuesday, August 6

Israel to join US mission

Israeli Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz has said that his country will join the US-led coalition, to protect trade routes in the Persian Gulf, Israeli media reported on Tuesday.

According to an Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth, Katz claimed that he had recently met a “high ranking persona” from the United Arab Emirates, to improve ties between Israel and Arab states.

Israel is part of the US-led coalition to protect trade routes in the Persian Gulf,” Katz said.

“It is an Israeli interest to stop Iranian entrenchment in the region and strengthen relationship with Gulf countries,” he added.

According to the newspaper, Katz said in a meeting of ministers that Israel has no conflict with Gulf nations.

So far only Britain has officially said it would join the mission to protect merchant ships after Iran seized a British-flagged vessel.

Rouhani says Iran favours talks but US must lift sanctions

Rouhani said on Tuesday that Tehran favours talks with Washington but the US must first lift sanctions it imposed on Iran.

The Islamic Republic of Iran favours talks and negotiations and, if the US really wants to talk, before anything else it should lift all sanctions,” Rouhani said in remarks aired live on state television.

He added, “peace with Iran is the mother of all peace and war with Iran is the mother of all wars”.

Rouhani, speaking at the foreign ministry after meeting with his top diplomat Zarif, said Iran was ready for talks regardless of whether or not the US was party to a landmark nuclear deal.

Monday, August 5

Germany not to join US mission

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Monday reiterated that Germany would not join a US-led naval mission in the Strait of Hormuz, adding that Berlin favoured a European mission but warned it was rather difficult to make progress on that. 

“At the moment the Britons would rather join an American mission. We won’t do that,” Maas told reporters. 

“We want a European mission,” he said, adding that the issue was not off the agenda but it would take time to convince the European Union to carry out such a mission. 

The US Embassy in Berlin said on Tuesday the United States had asked Germany to join France and Britain in a mission to protect shipping through the strait and “combat Iranian aggression”.

Sunday, August 4

Iran seizes 'foreign tanker' smuggling fuel: state media

Iranian media say the Revolutionary Guard has seized an oil tanker carrying 700,000 liters of “smuggled fuel” in the Persian Gulf.

The semi-official Fars news agency says seven crew members were detained when the ship was seized late Wednesday. It did not provide further details on the vessel or the nationality of the crew.

This would mark the third commercial vessel seized by Iranian forces in recent weeks and the second accused of smuggling fuel. Tensions have soared in the Gulf in recent months as the US has boosted its military presence and oil tankers have been seized by Iranian forces or targeted by unknown saboteurs.

The tensions are rooted in the US decision last year to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear accord and impose sweeping sanctions on Iran.

Saturday, August 3

Iran will take 'third step' to reduce commitments to nuclear deal – Zarif

Iran will take the third step to reduce its commitments to a landmark 2015 nuclear deal within the framework of the pact, Zarif said on Saturday, according to parliamentary news agency ICANA.

The third step in reducing commitments to (the nuclear deal) will be implemented in the current situation,” he said.

“We have said that if (the deal) is not completely implemented by others then we will also implement it in the same incomplete manner. And, of course, all of our actions have been within the framework of (the deal).”

Thursday, August 1

“Childish” of US to sanction Iran foreign minister – Rouhani

Rouhani accused the US of “childish behaviour” on Thursday over Washington's sanctioning of Iran's foreign minister amid rising tensions between the two countries.

They (Americans) are resorting to childish behaviour … they were claiming every day: 'we want to talk, with no preconditions' … and then they sanction the foreign minister,” Rouhani said. 

“This means they have lost the power of rational thought.”

Wednesday, July 31

US puts sanctions on Iranian foreign minister Zarif

The US on Wednesday imposed sanctions on Zarif, targeting the country's top spokesman and potentially hurting chances of diplomatic talks amid rising tensions between the two countries.

Zarif, a critical figure in the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, dismissed the action and said it would not affect him.

“Javad Zarif implements the reckless agenda of Iran’s Supreme Leader and is the regime’s primary spokesperson around the world. The US is sending a clear message to the Iranian regime that its recent behaviour is completely unacceptable,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.

The sanctions against Zarif would block any property or interests he has in the US, but the Iranian foreign minister said he had none.

UAE, Iran hold rare talks in Tehran on maritime security

Officials from the United Arab Emirates and Iran met to discuss maritime security for the first time in six years amid a spike in tensions in the Persian Gulf, both countries confirmed on Wednesday.

The meeting is significant because the UAE and Iran are regional rivals. The UAE downgraded ties with Iran in 2016 and has long pushed for more hawkish US policies toward Tehran, including supporting tough American sanctions.

An Emirati official told AP that the meetings focused on issues related to border security and navigation in shared waters, describing the talks as “nothing new” and unrelated to current tensions. The official said there were periodic meetings scheduled between technical teams in both countries and this was the sixth one to take place.

Stoltenberg says no NATO mission requested in Strait of Hormuz

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday there had been no formal request for the military alliance to launch a mission in the Strait of Hormuz.

The United States has proposed stepping up efforts to safeguard the vital oil route at a time of heightened tension between Washington and Tehran.

Germany: European naval mission in Strait of Hormuz worth considering

The German government has not offered any contribution to a US naval mission in the Strait of Hormuz but thinks it is “worth considering” a European mission and is in touch with its partners on that, a spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

The government is reticent about the concrete US proposal and so has no made an offer,” the spokeswoman told a news conference.

“For us, it is important to pursue the avenue of diplomacy … and to seek talks with Iran to achieve a de-escalation,” the spokeswoman added. 

Iran says it is ready for dialogue if Saudi Arabia is also ready

Iran is ready for dialogue if Saudi Arabia is also ready, Iran's Zarif said on Wednesday, according to the IRIB news agency.

“If Saudi Arabia is ready for dialogue, we are always ready for dialogue with our neighbours,” Zarif said. “We have never closed the door to dialogue with our neighbours and we will never close the door to dialogue with our neighbours.”

Iran dismisses Pompeo's 'hypocritical' offer to visit

Iran has dismissed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's offer to visit and address the Iranian people as a “hypocritical gesture.”

Addressing Pompeo in remarks to reporters on Wednesday, Foreign Minister Zarif said, “You don't need to come to Iran.” He suggested Pompeo instead grant visas for Iranian reporters to travel to the US and interview him, accusing him of having rejected their requests.

On Monday, Pompeo tweeted, “We aren't afraid of [Zarif] coming to America where he enjoys the right to speak freely. Are the facts of the [Khamenei] regime so bad he cannot let me do the same thing in Tehran?” he said, referring to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

“What if his people heard the truth, unfiltered, unabridged?”

Iran to further cut nuclear deal commitments – Zarif

Iran is set to further cut its commitments to its international nuclear deal unless its European partners move to protect it from US sanctions by ensuring it can sell oil and receive income, its foreign minister told state TV on Wednesday.

“Under current circumstances and if no action is taken [by the Europeans], we will take the next step [in cutting commitments],” Zarif said, adding that its European partners should guarantee Iran could sell its oil and collect the revenue.

Iran has said it will reduce its commitment to the nuclear accord in stages and may even withdraw from the pact unless the Europeans find ways to shield its economy from the US sanctions.

Iran says Europe 'obliged' to let it sell and ship oil

Iran said on Wednesday that European nations still party to the 2015 nuclear deal are “obliged” to allow it to sell and ship oil, amid a standoff with Britain over the seizure of tankers.

They [the European parties] have set out their commitments and announced them, they [include] the sale of Iran's oil, the transportation of Iran's oil, and the return of Iran's oil income,” said Zarif.

“It is clear that today's tensions and problems are due to America's economic terrorism and Europe's inability to fulfil its commitments which means going along with America's economic terrorism,” he said, quoted by state media.

UK warship commander says Iran trying 'to test' Britain in Gulf

The commander of a British warship accompanying UK-flagged ships through the Strait of Hormuz amid heightened tensions with Iran said on Wednesday that Tehran appeared to be testing the Royal Navy's resolve.

William King, commander of HMS Montrose, said during 27 days patrolling the flashpoint entrance to the Gulf he had had 85 “interactions with Iranian forces,” which had often led to “an exchange of warnings” over radio.

“That gives you some idea of the intensity … [it] is perhaps more than we've seen of recent times,” he told BBC Radio in a phone interview from aboard the frigate.

The Iranians seem to be keen to test our resolve, test our reactions most of the time,” King added.

They'll claim that perhaps our presence is illegitimate, even though we're completely lawfully in international waters.”

They may also run boats in at speed towards us, to test what warning levels we get to.”

Tuesday, July 30

Zarif calls on Trump to reject hawkish allies' thirst for war

Iran's foreign minister called on Trump to reject his hawkish allies' thirst for war, adding Iranians had outlasted every aggressor for millennia.

“For millennia, Iranians have outlasted every aggressor … @realDonaldTrump: reject #B_Team's fake history & its thirst for #ForeverWar. Diplomacy=prudence; never weakness,” Zarif tweeted.

Zarif has in the past said that a so-called “B-team” including Trump’s national security advisor John Bolton, an ardent Iran hawk, and conservative Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu could goad Trump into a conflict with Tehran.

Trump tweeted on Monday: “Just remember, the Iranians never won a war, but never lost a negotiation!”. 

Iran and UAE to hold maritime security talks

Iran was to revive maritime security talks on Tuesday with traditional foe the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in an apparent bid to calm tensions in the Gulf, although a Gulf official described the discussions as routine and technical.

The discussions had been off since 2013, but the UAE is widely seen in the region as wanting to guard its reputation as a safe business hub.

The 6th joint meeting will be held on Tuesday between a visiting seven-member delegation from the United Arab Emirates' coast guard and Iranian officials in Tehran,” Iran's Students News Agency (ISNA) reported.

Without giving a source, ISNA said issues from shared borders, visits by citizens of each nation, illegal entries, and maritime connections would be discussed.

A Gulf official said the meeting was not related to tensions in the region.

“It is a technical meeting that was organised a long time ago to discuss routine maritime issues,” the official told Reuters.

US asks Germany to join Hormuz mission – Berlin Embassy

The United States has formally asked Germany to join France and Britain in a mission to secure the Strait of Hormuz and to combat Iranian aggression, the US embassy in Berlin said on Tuesday.

“We've formally asked Germany to join France and the UK to help secure the Strait of Hormuz and combat Iranian aggression. Members of the German government have been clear that freedom of navigation should be protected … Our question is, protected by whom,” said an embassy spokeswoman.

The comments, initially reported by Germany's DPA news agency, were confirmed by an embassy spokesman.

There is considerable opposition among Germany's Social Democrats (SPD), junior partners in conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling coalition, to getting involved in a US-led mission.

The German government has already rejected participation in the US military mission, Operation Sentinel, to protect shipping in the Strait of Hormuz,” said Nils Schmid, a foreign affairs spokesman for the SPD parliamentary party.

“It should stay like that. Otherwise, there is a risk of being pulled into a war against Iran on the side of the United States.”

Monday, July 29

'Talks with US possible if they lead to tangible results'

Talks between Iran and the United States would be possible if based on an agenda that could lead to tangible results, but Washington is not seeking dialogue, Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Mousavi said on Monday.

Trump has said he would be willing to hold talks with the Islamic Republic.

“Dialogue and negotiation can be held when we have a certain agenda in place and when we could get some tangible and practical results out of it,” Mousavi said in a news conference broadcast live on Press TV.

He added, “They are not for talks. They are not seeking dialogue.”

Sunday, July 28

Oman 'not mediating' Gulf tensions – minister

Oman is not undertaking any mediation efforts around rising tensions in the Gulf region but is in contact with “all parties” in order to maintain stability in the Strait of Hormuz, Oman's minister in charge of foreign affairs said.

“We are not mediating, but what we are more concerned with, in this case, is securing the stability of navigation in the Hormuz Strait, so we are in contact with all parties,” Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah told Omani state TV after meeting Iranian officials in Tehran.

Foreign troops main Gulf tension source – Rouhani

The presence of foreign forces would be the main source of tension in the Gulf, Rouhani said on Sunday in a meeting with Oman's foreign minister in Tehran, according to the official presidency website. 

France, Italy, and Denmark gave initial support for a British plan for a European-led naval mission to ensure safe shipping through the Strait of Hormuz, proposed after Iran’s seizure of a British-flagged tanker, three senior EU diplomats said last week. 

The presence of foreign forces will not only not help the security of the region, but will be the main factor for tension,” Rouhani said, saying Iran and Oman had primary responsibility for securing the Strait of Hormuz.

The roots of the unpleasant events and tension in the region today are the unilateral withdrawal of America (from the2015 nuclear deal),” he said

Iran intends to restart activities at nuclear reactor

The head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation, Ali Akbar Salehi, told lawmakers on Sunday that Iran will restart activities at the Arak heavy water nuclear reacto