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UK envoy summoned to Iran Foreign Ministry amid tanker attacks fallout

Iranian Foreign Ministry has summoned the British ambassador to Tehran to issue its “strong protest” to London’s position on recent attacks on two tankers near the Persian Gulf waters.

Robert Macaire attended a meeting in the Ministry on Saturday to hear Iran’s objection to a statement by Britain’s Foreign and Common Wealth Office blaming Iran for Thursday attacks that took place in the Sea of Oman to the southeast of Iran.

Britain is the only major international power that has followed the United States in blaming Iran for the attacks with Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt accusing Tehran of “destabilizing” the region.

“These latest attacks build on a pattern of destabilizing Iranian behavior and pose a serious danger to the region,” Hunt said in a Friday statement.

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Mahmoud Barimani, who serves as Ministerial Aide and Head of the Europe Department of the Iranian Foreign Ministry, said he had asked Macaire during the meeting to explain or revise the “unacceptable position” adopted by British government on the issue.

Barimani said such postures were a main reason why Britain was facing increased popular discontent insider the country and around the world.

“The popular reactions against Britain are because of such approaches of the country which support the unfounded claims of the American officials in various cases,” said Barimani.

“We remind the British government of the necessity to revise its approach and to adopt realistic positions based on the realities of Islamic Republic of Iran’s policies,” he added.

Macaire promised during the meeting to immediately relay Iran’s note of protest to his government, according to a report by the official IRNA news agency.

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Opposition groups inside Britain have criticized the government for its accusations on Iran over the tanker attacks, saying they could increase the risk of an unwanted conflict in the Persian Gulf region.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said on Friday that London was fueling a crisis involving Iran that was mainly a product of US policy on Iran nuclear issue.

“Britain should act to ease tensions in the (Persian) Gulf, not fuel a military escalation that began with US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement,” said Corbyn in a post on Twitter, adding, “Without credible evidence about the tanker attacks, the government’s rhetoric will only increase the threat of war.”

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