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Iran says it has seized British oil tanker

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Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said on Friday they had captured a British-flagged oil tanker in the Gulf after Britain seized an Iranian vessel earlier this month, further raising tensions along a vital international oil shipping route.

Britain said it was urgently seeking information about the Stena Impero after the tanker, which had been heading to a port in Saudi Arabia, suddenly changed course after passing through the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Gulf.

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The Revolutionary Guards said they seized the tanker at the request of Iranian maritime authorities for “not following international maritime regulations,” state television reported.

An anonymous military source told Iranian state news agency IRNA that the British tanker had “turned off its tracker and ignored several warnings by the Revolutionary Guards before being captured”. 

Relations between Iran and the West have been increasingly strained since British naval forces seized an Iranian tanker in Gibraltar on July 4 on suspicion of smuggling oil to Syria in breach of European Union sanctions.

Iran said it would retaliate and days later three Iranian vessels tried to block a British-owned tanker passing through the Strait of Hormuz. But on that occasion, the Iranian vessels backed off when confronted by a British Royal Navy warship.

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“We are urgently seeking further information and assessing the situation following reports of an incident in the Gulf,” a spokesman for Britain’s Ministry of Defence said on Friday.

A person familiar with the matter said a meeting of the British government’s emergency committee was being held.

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Refinitiv data showed the Stena Impero was a British-flagged vessel owned by Stena Bulk. It showed the vessel’s destination as the Saudi port of Jubail on the Gulf.

The operator of the Stena Impero said that it was unable to contact the ship, which has 23 crewmembers aboard. Stena Bulk and North Marine Management said in a statement that the vessel was “approached by unidentified small crafts and a helicopter during transit of the Strait of Hormuz while the vessel was in international waters”.

The map tracking the ship’s course showed it veering off course with a sharp turn north at about 1517 GMT on Friday and heading towards the Iranian coast.

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The US condemned what it called “escalatory violence” by Iran. US President Donald Trump said that the U.S. would talk to Britain about the incident.

The seizure of the vessel comes just hours after Gibraltar’s Supreme Court announced that it would extend the detention of an Iranian oil tanker by a month. It was taken two weeks ago on the allegations that it was violating international sanctions by heading to Syria to sell oil.

It also comes at a time of soaring tensions between the US and Iran, after Trump insisted that US military had downed an Iranian drone, which Tehran flatly denies.

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Iran’s Supreme Leader has accused Britain of hewing to the US’ position on Iran, which is “tantamount to maritime banditry”.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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‘That is ridiculous’: Andrew Gillum obliterates Santorum for claiming guns aren’t ‘problem’ in mass shootings

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CNN contributor Andrew Gillum called conservative pundit Rick Santorum "ridiculous" on Sunday for suggesting that guns are not the problem in mass shootings.

During a CNN discussion on gun control, Santorum criticized calls from Democratic candidates for the government to buy back assault-style weapons in addition to banning them.

"The truth is something has to give," Gillum said. "The stranglehold that the NRA seems to have over Congress, over Washington, D.C., in my opinion, is insane. How can we put the priorities of one interest group above the safety, the security of the American people?"

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CNN’s Jake Tapper confronts Trump adviser Navarro with long list of experts calling him a disaster

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In a highly contentious interview on CNN's "State of the Union", host Jake Tapper confronted Donald Trump's top economic adviser, Peter Navarro, with a seemingly endless list of economists, analysts and business publications who believe he and his economic advice have both been a disaster and that he is not being straight with the public.

After refusing multiple times to concede that President Donald Trump's trade war -- and accompanying tariffs -- are having any effect on an economy that many financial prognosticators believe is headed towards a recession, Tapper confronted the White House adviser with the list of his critics -- including the Wall Street Journal.

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Internet goes wild over ‘obviously drunk’ Larry Kudlow on Fox News: ‘He’s lying while slurring his words’

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Speculation was rampant on Sunday that White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow was drunk on Fox News.

"There is no economic recession in sight," Kudlow insisted to Fox News Sunday host Dana Perino.

Twitter, however, was buzzing about Kudlow's speech patterns instead of his questionable economic optimism.

"Pretty sure Larry Kudlow is drunk on my TV right now... And he is lying while slurring his words," one Twitter user noted.

"Kudlow is on fox news Sunday right now and from my 30 yrs of tending bar, I gotta say this guy appears drunk," another user observed.

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