US President Donald Trump warned Tehran on Wednesday that sanctions would soon be “increased substantially,” as armed Iranian boats reportedly attempted to seize a British oil tanker in Gulf waters.
Trump’s sanctions warning — which he delivered via Twitter — came as French President Emmanuel Macron’s top diplomatic advisor met with Iran’s president, winding up a day of talks in Tehran aimed at saving a landmark 2015 nuclear deal.
The 2015 accord between Iran and world powers promised sanctions relief, economic benefits and an end to international isolation in return for stringent curbs on the Islamic republic’s nuclear program.
Tehran says it has lost patience with perceived inaction by European countries more than a year after Trump unilaterally pulled the US out of the agreement and started to impose punishing sanctions.
Tensions between Washington and Tehran have soared in recent weeks, with the United States blaming Iran for multiple attacks on tanker ships, and the Islamic republic shooting down an American surveillance drone.
On Wednesday, armed Iranian boats attempted to seize a British oil tanker but were driven off by a Royal Navy frigate, CNN reported.
The Iranians ordered the tanker, which was crossing into the Strait of Hormuz area, to change course and stop in Tehran’s nearby waters, CNN said, citing two American officials.
A US aircraft shot video of the incident, which ended when the HMS Montrose — which was escorting the tanker — trained its guns on the boats and successfully warned them to back off, the channel said