Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi wrote in a tweet on Thursday, “Following the illegal seizure of an Iranian oil tanker in Gibraltar by British Royal Marines, the UK envoy to Tehran has been summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”
The spokesman said the details of the matter will be announced later.
The British overseas territory Gibraltar seized a supertanker on Thursday, claiming that the move was done on suspicion of carrying crude oil to Syria in violation of European Union (EU) sanctions against the Arab country.
In a statement released on Thursday, Gibraltar Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said the territory’s police and customs agencies, aided by a detachment of British Royal Marines, had seized the Grace 1 vessel.
Gibraltar, he added, had reasonable grounds to believe that the tanker was carrying its crude oil shipment to the Banyas refinery in Syria, which is the property of an entity that is subject to European Union sanctions against Syria.”
Later in the day, acting Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said Gibraltar detained the supertanker Grace 1 after a request by the United States to Britain.
He added that Spain was looking into the seizure of the ship and how it may affect Spanish sovereignty as it appears to have happened in Spanish waters.
Spain does not recognize the waters around Gibraltar as British.
Britain’s Foreign Office did not respond to a request for comment.