Iran says its interception of an Indian oil tanker in the Persian Gulf had no political dimensions, adding that the move was due to pollution concerns.
“The ship has been detained by Iranian naval forces for causing widespread contamination in the Persian Gulf,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Araqchi told ISNA on Friday.
The move is in accordance with international regulations, the spokesman noted.
“This ship has caused widespread pollution in the Persian Gulf, and under international regulations we were obliged to stop the ship for investigation,” the Iranian spokesperson stated.
Iran must be indemnified in accordance with the law if it is proved that the vessel has caused pollution, the spokesman stressed.
Araqchi added that Iran and all other Persian Gulf littoral states attach great significance to the environment.
Iran’s Navy intercepted an Indian oil tanker, MT Desh Shanti, carrying Iraqi oil through the Persian Gulf on its way to India on Tuesday.
The vessel was carrying 140,000 tons of Basrah crude from Iraq to India.
"It was a Shipping Corp of India (SCI) vessel carrying Iraqi crude for us ... it was detained by Iran authorities to check pollution," Chairman of Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) S. Roy Choudhury said.
The Director General for maritime pollution affairs at the Iranian Department of the Environment, Nima Pourang, told Fars news agency on Friday that the tanker had been detained because it discharged its oily ballast water 30 miles away from Iran's Lavan Island in the Persian Gulf which caused a 10-mile-long oil slick on the sea.
He added that experts from Iranian ports were inspecting the tanker.