Seized British tanker at centre of storm in Persian Gulf is pictured by Iran

A British tanker that is at the centre of a storm in the Persian Gulf after being seized by Iran has been pictured apparently anchored in a port in the Middle Eat.

The Iran Students News Agency (ISNA), which is partially funded by the country's Government, released images today as tensions in the region escalate.

The pictures and footage purportedly show the Stena Impero in the port of Hormozgan, in the coastal south of the country, even as the UK Government vows retaliation over the seizure.

The Iranian reports say the vessel was not carrying any cargo and its detained crew may be subjected to "technical interviews."

The Stena Impero had been sailing through the Strait of Hormuz to Saudi Arabia when it was seized by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard on Friday.

The British warship the HMS Montrose sped to help the UK-flagged oil tanker as it was being seized by Iran, but the frigate was ten minutes too late, it was reported.

A defence source told The Times frigate was dispatched while the Stena Impero was in Omani waters, however it arrived after the tanker had entered Iranian territorial waters.

The source told The Times Iran appeared to be taking a "very aggressive stance" and was viewed as having been "ready to engage" HMS Montrose if she had arrived in time.

The incident has led Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt to vow a "robust" but diplomatic response.

He offered to help release  Grace 1, which was seized in Gibraltar on July 4 on suspicion of smuggling oil to Syria in breach of EU regulations.

If Iran guaranteed it would not breach sanctions imposed on Bashar Assad's regime.

He tweeted this morning: "Yesterday's action in Gulf shows worrying signs Iran may be choosing a dangerous path of illegal and destabilising behaviour after Gibraltar’s LEGAL detention of oil bound for Syria.

"As I said yesterday our reaction will be considered but robust. We have been trying to find a way to resolve Grace1 issue but WILL ensure the safety of our shipping."

The US Secetary of Defence Richard Spencer also announced he would send hundreds of troops, aircraft and missiles to Sauda Arabia in order to counter any potential aggression from Iran.

The affair has led the former head of the Royal Navy Lord West to blast for the British forces for having "too few ships" as he labelled it "extraordinary" that the Stena was travelling through the tense region without an escort.

Iran's semi-official Fars news agency claimed on Saturday that the detained tanker was in an accident with an Iranian fishing boat and ignored its distress call.

Two British oil tankers were seized by Iran – the Stena Impero and the Mesdar, a Liberian-flagged vessel which is managed by Norbulk Shipping UK.

The Mesdar was released, but the Swedish-owned Stena Impero, which is registered in the UK, was seized and taken to a port as Iran claimed it had breached international law.

British vessels have been advised to "stay out of the area" of the Strait of Hormuz for an "interim period", a Government spokesman said.

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