The UK reportedly told Trump not to threaten Iran while it negotiates for the release of tanker hostages

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks while participating in an Apollo 11 50th anniversary commemoration event in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., July 19, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis??U.S. President Trump participates in Apollo 11 50th anniversary event at the White House in WashingtonReuters

  • The UK government has asked the Trump administration to avoid making "inflammatory public statements" as it negotiates with Iran over the seizure of a British tanker, The Telegraph reported Saturday.
  • The report said the British government asked the US "not to sabre rattle over tanker seized by Iran."
  • This could be a hint to President Donald Trump to curb his remarks and take the standoff from Twitter, where he leveled threats like, "If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran."
  • Top members of the British government, including Prime Minister Theresa May, in recent weeks have publicly criticized Trump over his tweets.
  • Trump has for the most part avoided belligerent statements and tweets toward Iran over the past few days, other than rejecting a claim from Tehran that it arrested over a dozen citizens spying for the CIA.

The UK government has asked President Donald Trump to play it cool and avoid escalating a tense standoff with Iran after a British tanker was seized by the Iranians last Friday, according to a report from The Telegraph.

The Telegraph reported the British government asked the US "not to sabre rattle over tanker seized by Iran" and to avoid "inflammatory public statements" as it works to resolve the tense situation.

The White House declined to comment when contacted by INSIDER and the State Department did not immediately respond a request for comment.

This could be interpreted as a request for President Donald Trump to avoid hostile tweets. Trump frequently makes threats toward US adversaries - including Iran - via Twitter.

Read more: How the Trump administration got into a showdown with Iran that could lead to war

He's also been criticized in recent weeks by British leaders, including British Prime Minister Theresa May and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, over various tweets.

Hunt spoke with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about the tanker seizure on Friday night, according to The Telegraph. When asked about the situation, Pompeo on Friday told reporters, "We're doing everything we can in the United States to de-escalate with Iran. We want them simply to cease being the world's largest state sponsor of terror."

The 23-member crew of the Stena Impero, the British-flagged tanker seized by Iran in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday, are now hostages of the Iranian government.

The crew members are from India, Latvia, Russia, and the Philippines. Iran has claimed they're in "good health," Sky News reported.

The tanker seizure occurred amid broader, more complicated tensions between the US, the UK, and Iran.

The US has been flexing its military muscles at Iran over the past few months as it continues to hammer Tehran with crippling economic sanctions as part of a maximum pressure strategy linked to Iran's nuclear program.

The US also claimed to have taken down an Iranian drone last week, which Tehran denied, which came roughly a month after Iran shot down a US Navy drone.

Read more: USS Boxer had a bizarre and dangerous encounter with an Iranian chopper right before the ship destroyed a drone

And the seizure of the Stena Impero appeared to be relatiation for the seizure of an Iranian tanker by the British earlier this month near Gilbraltar.

The Iranians in recent weeks have also broken from the 2015 nuclear deal, which Trump pulled the US out of in May 2018, by breaching caps on uranium stockpiling and enrichment.

The UK is generally on the side of the US in international relations and they're historic allies. But Trump's decision to withdraw the US from the Iran nuclear deal has been criticized by the British, including Hunt. The UK's reported request for Trump and his top advisers to show restraint after the tanker seizure appears to be more evidence of how strained the relationship has become the US and its closest ally.

Meanwhile, Iran has claimed it arrested 17 citizens that were spying for the CIA. Trump on Monday scoffed at this assertion, tweeting, "The Report of Iran capturing CIA spies is totally false. Zero truth. Just more lies and propaganda (like their shot down drone) put out by a Religious Regime that is Badly Failing and has no idea what to do. Their Economy is dead, and will get much worse. Iran is a total mess!"
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