Dubai, August 13: Iran on Tuesday said the United Kingdom should release its seized oil tanker Grace 1 as soon as possible, following the exchange of some documents that would assist in the release of the seized vessel, Reuters news reported.
Iranian ports and maritime organization deputy head Jalil Eslami, in his remarks quoted by IRNA news agency, said, “Britain is interested in releasing Iran’s oil tanker Grace 1 … following the exchange of some documents, we hope the release will take place soon.”
On July 4, British Royal Marines detained Iran’s oil tanker off the coast of Gibraltar on suspicion of breaching European Union (EU) sanctions by moving crude oil to Syria, which Tehran denies any wrongdoing.
“The vessel was seized based on false allegations … it has not been freed yet,” Eslami said.
At least two weeks after the UK seized Grace 1, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) captured a British-flagged oil tanker, named Stena Impero, near the Hormuz Strait, blaming if for violating marine. Britain considers the Iranian move to have been attempted as illegal retaliation.
Last month, calling for the immediate release of Grace 1, an Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson told the state-run IRNA news agency: “This is a dangerous game and has consequences.”
A top-level Iranian foreign ministry official has “described the UK move as unacceptable” during a meeting with the UK ambassador – summoned in order to hear the formal protest.
In an official statement last month, the foreign ministry has said the official “called for the immediate release of the oil tanker, given that it has been seized at the request of the US, based on the information currently available”.