“When you have complete pirates of the high seas, that’s not very popular in the global community,” he said. “Prior to this, it looked like what they were trying to do was to drive a wedge between the U.S. and the other signatories of the Iran nuclear deal.”
“But, this latest taking of the oil tankers, that’s not succeeding at doing that. If anything, it takes the wedge out and drives them closer together.”
In regard to the downing of an Iranian drone by the U.S., Hurt claimed Iran’s apparent denial of the event was “interesting.”
“The allies know whether the drone… was shot down,” he said. The drone was reportedly downed using a technology that jammed its circuitry.
“It makes me wonder… is that not a message intended for their own people?” he asked, referring to Iran foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s denial of the event.
Earlier Friday, the U.K.-flagged Stena Impero, which has a crew of 23 aboard, “was approached by unidentified small crafts and a helicopter during transit of the Strait of Hormuz while the vessel was in international waters,” Stena Bulk, the shipping company that owns the vessel, said in a statement.
“We are presently unable to contact the vessel which is now heading north towards Iran,” the company said.
Approximately an hour later, a Liberian-flagged tanker operated by a British company was also seized by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and was seen on maritime tracking services making a turn toward Iran.
Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency later claimed that the second ship — known as the Mesdar — was warned to comply with environmental regulations before being allowed to continue on its way.
“I’m extremely concerned by the seizure of two naval vessels by Iranian authorities in the Strait of Hormuz,” British foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt said in a statement.
Fox News’ Greg Norman contributed to this report.