Iran legally accuses UK for violating international laws

IRNA- The UK has violated international laws through seizure of the Grace 1 oil tanker in international waters, Iran said in a report issued on Wednesday, calling the move “illegal”.

“The European Union’s unilateral sanctions are not binding for countries outside of the EU. Based on general and fundamental international rights, no country can enforce its extraterritorial laws and regulations,” according to a legal report about the UK’s move to seize in international waters, the Panama-flagged supertanker that was carrying oil through the Strait of Gibraltar.

The report has been conducted by the Deputy of Research, Education and Citizenship Rights of the Iranian Vice Presidency for Legal Affairs.

“Based on these rules, the EU cannot enforce its extraterritorial laws. So, Iran and Panama, as the country whose flag is raised on the tanker, are not obliged to abide by the EU’s unilateral sanctions on third countries regardless of the veracity of the UK’s claim about the tanker’s destination,” added the report.

“As a result, seizing the oil tanker is illegal and contrary to international laws,” the document argues.

The UK Marines seized supertanker Grace 1, carrying Iranian oil, when it was sailing in the international waters off the coast of Gibraltar, a British colony, July 5.

London claims the tanker was heading for Syria, that is under the EU’s sanctions since 2011. Iran rejects the claim.

The study, that has analysed the legalities of the British move, argues that only the United Nations sanctions can be considered international laws as they are binding for all member states.

Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, approved in 1982, coastline countries can detain other countries’ vessels if they breach international or internal laws. Unilateral sanctions, except those of the UN, are not considered international laws, the report argues.

Grace 1 is in the property of Russia that sails under the Panama flag, making it subject to the laws of the country that has the flag.

Iran cannot offer legal and consular services to the vessel because of the flag issue, making Panama the only country that can do so, under the Law of the Sea Convention.

The report goes on to mention that Panama is the only country that can demand the vessels immediate liberation.

According to the study Iran has two options to resolve the situation.

“Iran can lodge a complaint to the UN General Assembly and the UN Security Council under articles 34 and 35 under the subject “British escalation by seizing Iranian crude cargo. Tehran can also hold diplomatic talks with Panama to ask for the tanker’s liberation”, concludes the report.