Gibraltar to release Iranian vessel (Updated)

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Update: Gibraltar has said it will allow a detained Iranian oil tanker to be released after Tehran gave the territory’s government an assurance that it would not allow its cargo to be discharged in Syria, according to local reports.

But the decision could yet be challenged by the US, which earlier applied to seize the Grace 1, which was detained on suspicion of breaching international sanctions on oil shipments to the regime of Bashar al-Asssad.

Trump administration officials told the Guardian that the seizure request, which will complicate efforts by the UK government to defuse tensions with Tehran, was consistent with wider efforts by Washington to intensify the effect of western economic sanctions.


The United States moved to seize an Iranian supertanker detained in Gibraltar for breaching international sanctions on oil shipments.

Media in Gibraltar report that the US Department of Justice has requested a halt to the release of Grace 1, an Iranian tanker held on suspicion of shipping oil to Syria. The United States submitted a list of allegations.

“The US Department of Justice has applied to seize the Grace 1 on a number of allegations which are now being considered,” the government of British overseas territory announced in a statement released Thursday.

The Gibraltar Chronicle reports that the last-minute request, from the US Department of Justice, has prompted the British territory’s Supreme Court to hold off on an official decision on the tanker until later Thursday.

The captain of the vessel and three officers have been formally released, a Gibraltar government spokesperson was quoted as saying.

The detention of the Grace 1 saw Iran seize the British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero, which remains held by the Islamic Republic. Analysts had hoped the release of the Grace 1 by Gibraltar would see the Stena Impero similarly released.

 

Via BBC/ The Gibraltar Chronicle 

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