EU calls on Iran to release ship, warns of further escalation

In this undated photo issued Friday July 19, 2019, by Stena Bulk, showing the British oil tanker Stena Impero at unknown location. [AP Photo]

The EU expressed its deep concern on Saturday over the seizure by Iran of a British-flagged tanker in the , saying it brought risks of deepening tensions. The seizure of two ships by Iranian authorities "is of deep concern," said a statement by the EU's foreign affairs office, which represents the bloc's 28 member states.

The European Union calls on Iran to immediately release the remaining tanker seized in the Strait of Hormuz, while warning that the developments there carry the risk of further escalating an already tense situation.

"The seizure of two ships by Iranian authorities in the is of deep concern," an EU foreign policy spokesperson says in a statement.

"In an already tense situation, this development brings risks of further escalation and undermines ongoing work to find a way to resolve current tensions," the statement adds.

"We urge the immediate release of the remaining ship and its crew, and call for restraint to avoid further tensions. Freedom of navigation must be respected at all times," the EU says.

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