As a British oil tanker called the British Heritage sailed out of the Persian Gulf on Wednesday towards the Strait of Hormuz, it was approached by three boats from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.
According to the British Defense Ministry, the Iranians wanted the tanker to change course from international waters to the nearby Iranian territorial waters.
With the tanker escorted by a British warship, though, the Iranians backed off after verbal warnings.
Iran is denying any attempt to stop the tanker.
This was apparently in retaliation for Britain's seizure last Thursday of an Iranian oil tanker bound for Syria on suspicions it was violating EU sanctions.
Iran had warned the UK of "consequences" for that, and an officer in the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps tweeted that they would take reciprocal action and seize a British oil tanker.
The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for "maximum restraint," and the U.S. State Department has condemned the alleged Iranian attempt.
"We commend the actions of the Royal Navy in ensuring freedom of navigation, and the free flow of commerce through this critically important waterway. We will continue to work closely with the United Kingdom and our allies to ensure the Iranian regime's malign activities do not further disrupt international law, maritime security or global commerce."
Tensions have been rising between some Western powers and Iran after Iran breached the 2015 nuclear deal by exceeding the deal's limits on stockpiles of enriched uranium.
Hong Yoo, Arirang News.