The United States moved on Thursday to halt the release of an Iranian supertanker detained in Gibraltar for breaching EU sanctions on oil shipments to Syria.
Iran's president lambasted new U.S. sanctions by the Trump administration targeting the country's foreign minister, describing the move on Thursday as "childish" and a barrier to diplomacy.
President Hassan Rouhani suggested that Iran might release a U.K.-flagged ship if Britain takes similar steps to release an Iranian oil tanker seized by the British Royal Navy.
Given the heated rhetoric between Washington and Tehran, it is difficult to think that the two nations could ever return to the negotiating table.
Iran said it has arrested 17 Iranians allegedly recruited by the CIA to spy on the country's nuclear and military sites – sentencing some of them to death.
"Iran has Hezbollah operatives in position to carry out a terrorist attack in the event of a conflict. That is the nature of the domestic threat Iran poses to the U.K."
Iran denies President Trump's claim that a U.S. warship destroyed an Iranian drone near the Persian Gulf in another escalation of tensions between the two countries.
The British navy said it prevented three Iranian paramilitary vessels from impeding the passage of a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz.
The challenge for the Trump administration is avoiding a conflict with Iran while maintaining a truce with China in the trade war.