Iran tanker prepares to leave Gibraltar

An Iranian tanker whose detention exacerbated frictions between Tehran and the West could sail free from British territory Gibraltar on Friday.

According  to Reuters, Iranian oil tanker Grace 1 sits anchored awaiting a court ruling on whether it can be freed after it was seized in July by British Royal Marines off the coast of the British Mediterranean territory, in the Strait of Gibraltar, southern Spain.

The Grace 1 was seized by British Royal Marine commandos in darkness at the western mouth of the Mediterranean on July 4 on suspicion of violating European Union sanctions by taking oil to Syria, a close ally of Iran.

Gibraltar Chief Minister Fabian Picardo decided to lift the detention order after written assurances from Tehran that the ship would not discharge its oil in Syria.

But the fate of the ship has since been complicated by a last-minute legal bid to hold it.

Two weeks after the Grace 1 was held, Iran seized a British- flagged tanker in the Strait of Hormuz leading into the Gulf. That fed into wider hostilities since the United States last year pulled out of an international agreement curbing Iran’s nuclear program and reimposed economic sanctions.

 “Based on the owner’s request, the oil tanker Grace 1 will depart for the Mediterranean after being reflagged under the Iranian flag and renamed Adrian Darya after preparing for the journey,” Iran’s state television quoted Jalil Eslami, deputy head of Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization, as saying.

A.H

ANHA 


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