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Iran Religious Leader Threatens UK Over Capture of Oil Tanker

© AP Photo/Marcos Moreno

The United Kingdom should be "scared" of Tehran's possible reciprocal measures for the capture of an Iranian supertanker by the British navy in Gibraltar, the semi-official Fars news agency reported an Iranian religious leader as saying, Al Jazeera reports.

"I am openly saying that Britain should be scared of Iran's retaliatory measures over the illegal seizure of the Iranian oil tanker," Mohammad Ali Mousavi Jazayeri, a member of the Assembly of Experts, a powerful religious body said on Saturday.

"We have shown that we will never remain silent against bullying ... As we gave a staunch response to the American drone, the appropriate response to this illegal capture [of the tanker] will be given by Iran as well," he said over the seizure of the supertanker in the British overseas territory.

British Royal Marines seized the supertanker Grace 1 on Thursday for trying to transport oil to Syria in violation of European Union sanctions in a move which drew Tehran's fury and could escalate its confrontation with the West.

On Friday, the tanker's crew were being interviewed as witnesses in an effort to establish the nature of the cargo and its ultimate destination, a spokesperson for the British territory said.

The spokesperson said the 28-member crew, who have remained on board the supertanker, were mainly Indians with some Pakistanis and Ukrainians.

Later on Friday, Gibraltar said it had obtained an order extending the detention of the tanker by 14 days because there were grounds to believe it was breaking sanctions by taking oil to Syria.

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