Iran eyes ‘toll’ on Strait of Hormuz ships
Iranian lawmakers on Sunday said they believe their country should impose a “toll” on all ships that pass through the vital Strait of Hormuz.
The proposal comes just 48 hours after Iran’s Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) seized a British oil tanker traveling through the Strait, a key shipping channel in the region. In a statement Sunday, a group of Iranian lawmakers praised the move and said Tehran should go even further in exercising control over the Strait.
“We support the IRGC Navy’s proper and firm measure to seize an offending British oil tanker and ask the IRGC to continue its path firmly and powerfully,” the Iranian lawmakers said, as quoted by the Fars News Agency. “Finally, we urge the honorable government and president to put on its agenda the issue of collecting toll from the ships which pass through the Strait of Hormuz.”
After the Trump administration earlier this year imposed a full embargo on exports of Iranian oil, Tehran has targeted foreign vessels sailing through the strait. In addition to detaining multiple ships, the U.S. has alleged that Iran carried out a series of limpet mine attacks on oil tankers.
The British ship seized on Friday, the Stena Impero, remains in Iranian custody at the country’s Port of Bandar Abbas. There were 23 crew members on board, and Iranian officials said Sunday they are all in good health.
The company that owns the ship, Stena Bulk, said it is crafting a “formal request” to visit the crew and ensure they’re safe.
Meanwhile, British officials said the country will weigh economic sanctions against Iran in response to the ship seizure.
“This is a hostile act, let’s not dodge away from that. This is a serious matter which Iran must recognize,” U.K. Defense Minister Tobias Ellwood told Sky News over the weekend. “We’re looking at the operational responsibilities from that but, yes, we are going to be looking at a series of options.”
The ship detainment comes on the heels of the U.S. military last week shooting down an Iranian drone over international waters, an incident that ratcheted up tensions between the two sides even higher.