MOSCOW, July 20. /TASS/. Russia should ensure that the rights of Russian citizens on board of the detained British tanker Stena Impero are observed, chairman of the Russian Federation Council's International Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachev said on Saturday.
"This information [that there were Russian citizens on board the detained tanker] needs to be verified as soon as possible through existing channels with the Iranian side. Such channels are established and effective. If this information is confirmed, then we need to ensure that the rights of our citizens are observed by the Iranian side. Our citizens sould not become hostage to the geopolitical confrontation between Iran and Western countries," Kosachev said.
The Stena Bulk company earlier confirmed to TASS that three Russian citizens were on board the Stena Imperio tanker detained by Iran in the Strait of Hormuz. The Russian Embassy in Iran said that they are working on verifying this information.
The IRNA agency reported on Friday that Iran's elite forces Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) detained British tanker Stena Impero over the vessel's "violation of international rules." According to the IRGC, the tanker was escorted to the shore for inspections. UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said that the Liberain registered Mesdar tanker was also detained by the Iranian authorities. Birtish transport company Norbulk Shipping UK later confirmed that the Mesdar tanker was allowed to continue its voyage after being briefly detained by Iran when crossing through the Strait of Hormuz.