DRAMATIC footage shows Iranian commandos hijacking a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz.
Video released today captures the moment Tehran troops abseil onto the stricken ship with 23 crew on board.
Iran today branded the UK “economic terrorists” and taunted the Royal Navy with pictures of one of its seized oil tankers.
Tehran’s foreign minister accused Britain of being an “accessory to the economic terrorism of the US” as tensions escalated.
The UK has warned of “serious consequences” after Iran last night sparked a new Gulf crisis by seizing two British oil tankers.
Last night Iran’s Revolutionary Guard launched a gunboat and helicopter raid on the Stena Impero, which is registered in the UK, claiming it had turned off its tracker and ignored warnings.
Another vessel, the Mesdar, was also intercepted and forced towards Iranian territory in what appeared to be a co-ordinated strike.
A UK warship sped to help a British oil tanker that was seized by Iran but arrived ten minutes too late.
The HMS Montrose was dispatched while the Stena Impero was in Omani waters but the warship arrived after the tanker had entered the Strait of Hormuz.
A defence source told the Times the Iranians appeared to be taking a “very aggressive stance” and were viewed as having been “ready to engage” HMS Montrose.
UK must cease being an accessory to economic terrorism of the US
Iran's foreign minister Javad Zarif
It comes as dramatic photos from last week showed HMS Montrose intercepting Iranian patrol boats surrounding the UK-flagged tanker British Heritage.
And Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, stepped up the war of words with Britain, tweeting: “Unlike the piracy in the Strait of Gibraltar, our action in the Persian Gulf is to uphold international maritime rules.
“As I said in NY, it is IRAN that guarantees the security of the Persian Gulf & the Strait of Hormuz.
“UK must cease being an accessory to #EconomicTerrorism of the US.”
A senior Iranian diplomat has been summoned to the Foreign Office following the seizure of the tanker, while Mr Hunt hopes to speak to Mr Jarif on the phone later today.
It comes two weeks after Royal Marines seized Iran’s Grace 1 tanker off Gibraltar – prompting Tehran to threaten “retaliation”.