DUBAI - Iran's envoy to Britain on Sunday urged the UK to contain "domestic political forces" which he said wanted to escalate tension between the two countries amid the capture of a British-flagged tanker in the Gulf by Iran.
Britain has denounced Iran's seizure of the oil tanker in the Gulf on Friday as a "hostile act," rejecting Tehran's explanation that it had seized the vessel because it had been involved in an accident.
"UK government should contain those domestic political forces who want to escalate existing tension between Iran and the UK well beyond the issue of ships. This is quite dangerous and unwise at a sensitive time in the region," Hamid Baeidinejad tweeted.
"Iran however is firm and ready for different scenarios."
The crew of the British-flagged Stena Impero tanker seized by Iran's Revolutionary Guards are all safe, the head of the Ports and Maritime Organization of Iran in Hormozgan Province told state TV earlier Sunday.
"All 23 crew members aboard the ship are safe and in good health in Bandar Abbas port," Allahmorad Afifipour said.
Stena Bulk, the vessel's Sweden-based owners, said on Saturday they were preparing a formal request to visit the crew, who are from India, Latvia, the Philippines and Russia.
Stena said in a statement that Iran had asked that a formal request be made for the visit.
Britain, a party to Iran's 2015 multinational nuclear deal, is planning to target Iran with sanctions in the aftermath of the tanker seizure, the Daily Telegraph newspaper reported on Saturday.
The seizure follows weeks of threats from Tehran to retaliate for Britain's seizure of the Iranian tanker Grace 1 near Gibraltar on July 4 which it suspected was violating sanctions on Syria.
Quoting Afifipour, Iran's Far news agency said Saturday that the detained tanker was in an accident with an Iranian fishing boat and ignored its distress call.
"It got involved in an accident with an Iranian fishing boat... When the boat sent a distress call, the British-flagged ship ignored it," Afifipour told Fars.
"The tanker is now at Iran's Bandar Abbas port and all its 23 crew members will remain on the ship until the probe is over," he said.
The Stena Impero was taken to Bandar Abbas on Friday night by the Revolutionary Guards naval forces and the investigation into the accident began on Saturday, Afifipour said, according to Fars.
Britain said earlier it was urgently seeking information about the tanker, which had been heading to a port in Saudi Arabia and suddenly changed course after passing through the strait at the mouth of the Gulf.