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Home / World / Detained Iranian tanker released if oil is not destined for Syria, British Foreign Minister says

Detained Iranian tanker released if oil is not destined for Syria, British Foreign Minister says



An Iranian oil tanker, held by British forces near Gibraltar, is released if Britain assures that the oil will not fly to Syria, said London's highest diplomat on Saturday.

Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt shared on Twitter that he had done a "constructive call" with his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif during which Hunt "reassured him [Zarif] that our goal was not the origin of the oil."

  A patrol ship of the British Royal Navy guards the oil super tanker Grace 1.

] A patrol ship of the British Royal Navy guards the oil super tanker Grace 1.
(REUTERS / Jon Nazca)

Hunt added that "the United Kingdom would facilitate the release if we were given guarantees that it would not go to Syria after a proper trial before Gib [Gibraltar]. "

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The Iranian tanker Grace 1 was captured earlier this month on suspicion of violating European Union sanctions, according to the BBC. The head of government of Gibraltar said on Friday that the tanker carried 2.1 million barrels of light crude oil.

Fabian Picardo told the country's parliament that the vessel is under suspicion of violating the sanctions of the European Union against the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad and against any nation with a claim to the ship and his charge may go to court be invoked.

In addition to arresting the tanker's captain and chief officer on Thursday, Gibraltar police said they arrested the two remaining companions of the Panamanian-fueled tanker on Friday. The two are in custody and assist the police in their investigation, the authorities said. All four are Indian citizens.

  A Royal Marines ship on July 4 from Gibraltar British territory to supertanker Grace 1.

A Royal Marines ship departs from British Gibraltar territory on July 4 for supertanker Grace 1 to 4.
(AP Photo / Marcos Moreno)

Tensions between London and Tehran escalated on Thursday after the British Navy announced that three Iranian paramilitary ships were obstructing the passage of a British oil tanker through the vital Strait of Hormuz.

The captain of HMS Montrose, a British frigate following BP's own tanker, was forced to move between the Iranian boats and the merchant ship. said a spokesman for the Ministry of Defense. On Friday, the ministry said it would postpone its timetable for replacing the Montrose with the larger HMS Duncan destroyer following recent developments for ships crossing this vital shipping lane, "the ministry said.

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" We are clear to Iran that we are not trying to escalate this situation, "he said, adding that the British reaction was" measured and cautious. " ,

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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