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UK Sends Mediator to Iran to Free Seized Oil Tanker

The United Kingdom has sent a mediator to Iran to discuss the freeing of a British-flagged tanker, the Stena Impero, seized by the Islamic Republic last week, Mohammad Mohammadi-Golpayegani, head of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s office, said on Wednesday, according to Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news site. “A country that at one time appointed ministers and lawyers in Iran has reached a point where they send a mediator and plead for their ship to be freed,” Mohammadi-Golpayegani reportedly said. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) posted a video of its personnel seizing the ship last week, displaying soldiers wearing ski masks and bearing machine guns as they rappelled to the vessel from a helicopter. The incident follows threats from Tehran that London would face “consequences” for its seizure on July 4 of the Iranian oil tanker Grace 1 for allegedly violating European Union sanctions against Syria, where it was accused of heading. France, Italy and Denmark have provided initial support for a British plan for a European-led naval mission to ensure safe shipping through the Strait of Hormuz, Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing three senior EU diplomats.