Egypt detains Iran oil tanker, sentences 6 to life for espionage

Egypt detains Iran oil tanker, sentences 6 to life for espionage

2019/07/09 | 23:15 - Source: Baghdad Post

(ThisDay | Iraq News Now)- Egyptian authorities detained a Ukrainian tanker carrying

Iranian oil as it passed through the Suez Canal ten days ago.News of the seizure came a day after Egypt’s Supreme State

Security Criminal Court sentenced six people to jail on charges of spying for

Iran.The court has sentenced the defendants to 15-25 years in

jail, a $30,000 fine and the confiscation of their computers and phones.

Egyptian Al-Azhar Professor Alaa Moawad, who was present at the trial on

Sunday, was accused of harming Egypt’s national interests and receiving money

to spread Iranian Shiism in Sunni Egypt by launching a website, issuing

publications and attracting recruits.The remaining five defendants, who were Iranian, were tried

in absentia.The sentences have been issued amid rising tensions between

Iran and the US, where Iran struggles to sell its oil production under the US

sanctions.In response Iran said over the weekend that it is prepared

to enrich uranium at any level and at any amount, according to Reuters.Tension between the two countries is ongoing.

In June Iran

was accused of attacking oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman and later shot down a

US drone.

Tehran has denied targeting the tankers.At the time UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, also a major

ally of the US and Egypt, stated that Britain would consider joining the US in

potential military action against Iran.Then last week Iran summoned the UK ambassador after the

Royal Marines seized an Iranian supertanker off the coast of Gibraltar it

suspected of carrying oil to Syria in contravention of sanctions against Bashar

Al-Assad.Iran-Egypt relations are also tense due to Egypt’s support

for the Saudi-led coalition against the Houthis in Yemen, who Riyadh accuse

Iran of arming.Last month Egypt said it was standing by Saudi Arabia

following an attack by the Houthis that wounded over 20 people at an airport in

the kingdom.Cairo has joined Washington in calling on the Houthis to

cease attacks and said it will “defy any attempt to target the kingdom.”

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