Iran airs video of crew of seized British ship

Iran’s state broadcaster has released new video showing for the first time the 23-member crew of the British-flagged ship seized by Iran — an apparent attempt to convey they are safe and unharmed.

In the video aired yesterday, the Stena Impero crew is seen dressed in red uniforms and seated around a table onboard the vessel as an unidentified Iranian man is heard thanking them for their cooperation. A cameraman is heard telling them not to look at the camera.

It wasn’t clear if the crew was under duress to take part in the filming.

Other choreographed shots show a man checking on the ship, the crew sharing a laugh and talking next to a coffee machine inside the ship. The crew’s chefs are seen preparing food. Another video, also released by Iran’s state broadcaster, shows Iran’s flag hoisted on the ship’s bridge.

The ship was seized Friday in the Strait of Hormuz. None of the crew are British nationals but are mostly Indian and also Filipino, Russian and Latvian nationals.

Repercussions of the Gulf crisis are spreading all over the world.

Yesterday evening, China said it will “actively consider” sending a delegation to Vienna to discuss the Iran nuclear issue next week.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said that China is “maintaining close communications with other parties” about the planned meeting.

He added that “China has repeatedly stressed that ensuring the full implementation” of the Iran nuclear deal is “the only viable and effective way” to resolve the issue and ease tensions.

Since the U.S. unilaterally pulled out of the deal last year, the other parties to the agreement — China, Germany, France, Britain, Russia and the European Union — have been trying to preserve it.

The U.S. has imposed sanctions on Chinese and other entities for allegedly helping Iran buy materials for its nuclear program.

Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said yesterday the country will not follow President Donald Trump’s approach to Iran, instead prioritizing de-escalation through diplomacy.

Following discussions with British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt on Sunday and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian yesterday, the German diplomat said that alongside handling the dangers in the Strait of Hormuz, Europe will continue to play the “diplomatic card”.

Iran said earlier it has arrested 17 Iranian nationals allegedly recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency to spy on the country’s nuclear and military sites, and some of them have already been sentenced to death.

An Iranian intelligence official told a press conference in Tehran that the arrests occurred over the past months. He did not say how many got the death sentence.

The official did not give his name but was identified as the director of the counterespionage department of Iran’s Intelligence Ministry. Such a procedure is highly unusual in Iran; officials usually identify themselves at press conferences.

In London, British Prime Minister Theresa May will chair an emergency security session to discuss how to respond to Iran’s seizure of a British-flagged tanker in the Strait of Hormuz.

The meeting of security ministers and officials today [Macau time] will discuss how to secure shipping in the sensitive region, which is vital to the world’s oil supply.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt is also expected to brief Parliament on the Friday seizure of the Stena Impero tanker, now in a heavily guarded Iranian port. MDT/AP

Categories World