Iran ready to escort Grace 1 into territorial waters if needed: cmdr. 

TEHRAN, Aug. 18 (MNA) – Commander of the Iranian Army's Navy Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi announced on Sunday that Iran is not intended to escort Grace 1 but if need it is ready to safeguard the oil tanker to Iranian territorial waters.

He said that Army is ready to dispatch a naval fleet to escort the released oil tanker back to Iranian waters whenever Iranian officials require.

As reported, Iranian oil tanker, previously called Grace 1, has left Gibraltar, after a month of being unlawfully detained by UK.

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).

HJ/ 4695630

News Code 149010

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