Zarif refutes claims on IRGC attempt to seize UK oil tanker

TEHRAN, Jul. 11 (MNA) – Iranian top diplomat Mohammad Javad Zarif has rejected the British authorities’ claim on an attempt by the IRGC gunboats to impede one of their oil tankers as worthless, saying that their claim is aimed at creating tensions.

In reaction to claims on Thursday that three IRGC vessels attempted to intercept a British oil tanker in the strait of Hormuz, Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters in Tehran that the claims were aimed at creating tensions.

Zarif also said the British government’s claim is ‘worthless’, adding that such claims are nothing new.

The top diplomat pointed to the IRGC statement which dismisses the claim, adding that "they are seeking to cover up their weaknesses with such claims."

The foreign minister also referred to his meeting with the Emmanuel Macron's top diplomatic adviser Emmanuel Bonne yesterday, saying that “he brought an offer to de-escalate the tensions."

“Mr. Bonne said I am not a mediator but we wanted to think about ways,” Zarif cited the words by the French diplomat. He added that “they [the French delegation] were told that as long as the United States is in the economic war against Iran, they should not expect Iran to stop its actions.”

In response to a question whether he wanted to travel to the US to attend a UN meeting, the top diplomat said “I still do not have a visa to go to America.”

Zarif said that he was going to New York to attend a UN Economic and Social Council meeting. He said that traveling to Caracas to take part at a NAM meeting and hold bilateral talks on the sidelines of the summit was on his agenda, adding that he wanted to travel to two South American countries.

With respect to a question about the possibility of talks with the United States, Zarif said “negotiation does not match acts of economic terrorism. ... We, too, do not negotiate with people who commit acts of economic terrorism against the people.”

The foreign minister refuted the US claim on its readiness to hold talks with Iran, saying that Iran never left the negotiating table and it was the Americans who did.

KI/4663939

News Code 147515

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