Iranian tanker leaving Gibraltar: Sputnik

TEHRAN, Aug. 18 (MNA) – Iranian oil tanker, previously called Grace 1, is leaving Gibraltar, after a month of being unlawfully detained by UK.

Commenting on the issue, acting Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell claimed that the vessel was detained at the request of the United States, which has long been seeking to curtail Iranian oil exports, Sputnik wrote.

The Gibraltar government later confirmed that Washington had made a last-minute request to halt the release of the seized Iranian vessel on a number of allegations.

Britain’s naval forces unlawfully seized the Grace 1 and its cargo of 2.1 million barrels of oil in the Strait of Gibraltar on July 4 under the pretext that the supertanker had been suspected of carrying crude to Syria in violation of the European Union’s unilateral sanctions against the Arab country.

Tehran, however, rejected London’s claim that the tanker was heading to Syria, slamming the seizure as “maritime piracy.”

Gibraltar’s government announced this week it was releasing the supertanker despite pressure from the US for the vessel’s continued detainment.

The oil tanker is now renamed and sails under Iranian flag.

Iranian ambassador to London, Hamid Baeidinejad wrote on a Sunday tweet that the act of having the Iranian oil tanker, Grace 1, renamed is in no relation with skirting the US sanctions, since the tanker is not sanctioned and sails under the aegis of National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC).

MNA/PR

News Code 149006

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