Zarif stresses UK unlawful seizure of oil tanker

IRNA – Iranian foreign minister in a message referred to Iran’s embassy note to UKFCO, saying seizure of tanker carrying Iran oil was 100 percent unlawful.

“Our London Embassy note to UKFCO: Protested the illegal detention of Grace1; Repeated public statements about destination; & Made it crystal clear that EU sanctions do NOT apply to Iran—a position shared by most Europeans,” Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted on Thursday.

“Nothing changes the fact: detention was 100% unlawful,” he added.

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

He said 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.

The 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 was trying to block release of Grace 1.

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.