Iran’s ambassador to UK confirms Grace 1 release

IRNA – Iran’s Ambassador to UK Hamid Baeidinejad in a message on Thursday confirmed release of oil tanker Grace 1 late on Thursday.

The Iranian ambassador tweeted that following a decision by the Gibraltar’s officials, illegal detention of an oil tanker carrying Iran’s oil was lifted moments earlier.

Over the past 40 days, Iranian officials held regular dialogues at the legal, political and technical levels with the British side in a bid to remove the illegal seizure on the ship, Baeidinejad said.

US was struggling to block release of the tanker, but in defiance of its attempts Gibraltar court issued a ruling to release the ship.

Arrangements for the tanker’s movement to free water have been made earlier, as the ship will leave Gibraltar soon.

The Gibraltar court decided to release the crew of the ship, but the US is trying to block release of Grace 1.

Meanwhile, an official in the Gibraltar government’s first minister office said that the US Department of Justice had applied to seize the tanker Grace 1, carrying Iranian oil, in Gibraltar.

Grace 1, a supertanker carrying Iranian oil, was seized earlier this month by British Royal Marines off the coast of the British Mediterranean territory of Gibraltar on suspicion of violating sanctions against Syria.

The seizure of tanker carrying Iranian oil drew strong reaction from the Iranian officials.

Writing on his official Twitter account, Baeidinejad said that it is a sensitive time in the region. He however noted that Iran is firm and ready for different scenarios.

“Unlike the piracy in the Strait of Gibraltar, Our action in the Persian Gulf is to uphold international maritime rule,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said.

He said that UK must cease being an accessory to US’ economic terrorism.