Bret Baier: Iran seizure of UK tanker an escalation from 'rhetorical' back and forth with Tehran

Tensions between Iran and the West have been greatly escalated by Tehran's seizure of a United Kingdom-flagged tanker a key international waterway, according to Bret Baier.

The entire situation is just the latest example of heightened tensions in the region, Baier claimed Friday on "The Daily Briefing."

"You have this back-and-forth rhetorically, but more importantly you have a back-and-forth in the Strait of Hormuz," he said.

"This is an escalation... It is a continued escalation."

UK-FLAGGED TANKER SEIZED BY IRAN'S REVOLUTIONARY GUARD IN STRAIT OF HORMUZ

During the interview, Baier and host Julie Banderas reviewed a statement from the British tanker's owner, Stena Bulk.

"U.K vessel Stena Impero was approached by unidentified small crafts and a helicopter during transit of the Strait of Hormuz while the vessel was in international waters," the statement read.

The strait is a key connection between the oil-rich Middle East region and the Arabian Sea -- which in turn connects to open ocean.

The Stena Impero, which has a crew of 23 on board, “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.”

CLICK TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Iran's Revolutionary Guard forces, in a statement on their website, say the ship was seized for "non-compliance with international maritime laws and regulations" and is being brought to an unnamed Iranian port, according to the Associated Press.

Websites tracking the ship's path show it turning sharply in the direction of Iran's Qeshm Island, instead of its intended destination of Saudi Arabia.

“We are urgently seeking further information and assessing the situation following reports of an incident in the Gulf," a U.K. government spokesperson told Fox News.

Fox News' Gregg Norman contributed to this report.