TEHRAN, Iran (AP) – Iran criticized the United States on Saturday for calling it an "inhuman" decision to bar its foreign minister, who was attending UN summit meetings in New York, from visiting a hospitalized Iranian diplomat. in the city.
US officials were not allowing Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to visit UN Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi, who was undergoing cancer treatment at a New York hospital. In July, the US restricted Zarif's movement to just six blocks in New York.
The US State Department said it would only allow a visit to the hospital if Iran released one of several "unfairly detained" US citizens.
IRNA's official news agency quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi as saying the United States had taken humanitarian issues as "hostages" for political causes.
The fight comes amid growing tension between Tehran and Washington following US President Donald Trump's decision more than a year ago to unilaterally withdraw a nuclear deal with Iran. The US imposed sanctions that prevented Iran from selling its oil abroad and undermined its economy. Since then, Iran has begun to break the terms of the deal.
Tensions included seizures of tankers at sea. On Friday, Iran launched a British-flagged oil tanker it had seized in July as it passed through the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf through which 20% of all oil flows.
The ship, the Stena Impero, sailed from Iran on Friday morning, arriving at an anchor outside Port Rashid, Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, just before midnight. It was expected to arrive at the port early Saturday afternoon. Swedish oil tanker Stena Bulk said the crew would land in Dubai for medical examinations and interrogations and spend some time with their families.
The seizure of the Stena Impero came after authorities in Gibraltar, a British overseas territory, seized an Iranian supertanker carrying $ 130 million in crude on suspicion that he was breaching EU sanctions by taking the oil to Syria. . Gibraltar later released the tanker, and then called Grace 1, after Iran promised it would not go to Syria.
Renamed Adrian Darya 1, the ship later sat on the Syrian coast, infuriating Britain. Iran did not say who bought its 2.1 million barrels of crude.
Britain responded to Iran's launch of the Stena Impero on Friday, accusing Tehran of trying to hinder freedom of navigation.
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the ship was "illegally confiscated by Iran" and that the action was "part of a pattern of attempts to disrupt freedom of navigation. We are working with our international partners to protect the shipment and uphold the rule of law internationally. "
Tensions in the Persian Gulf also saw a series of attacks on the Middle East that the US blames on Iran. They peaked on September 14, with a missile and drone strike on the world's largest oil processor in Saudi Arabia and a field. oil prices, which has caused oil prices to rise most since the 1991 Gulf War. While Iran's allied Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed the attack, Saudi Arabia says it was "unquestionably sponsored by Iran."
Iran denies being responsible and warned that any retaliatory attack against it will result in a "total war".
Elena Becatoros in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Jill Lawless in London contributed.
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