Iran says Britain might free oil tanker soon

Iran says Britain might free oil tanker soon

A Panama flag flies on the stern of the Iranian oil tanker Grace 1 as it sits anchored after it was seized earlier this month by British Royal Marines off the coast of the British Mediterranean territory on suspicion of violating sanctions against Syria, in the Strait of Gibraltar, southern Spain on July 20, 2019.

He said the Iranian oil tanker will soon be released and resume sailing freely with the flag of Iran. It is suspected of violating European Union sanctions on oil shipments to Syria, and its seizure deepened global tensions in the Persian Gulf.

They said the Iranian origin of the cargo was not a factor in the decision to stop the supertanker when it entered British waters off Gibraltar to collect stores on July 4.

Iranian official news agency IRNA on Tuesday August 13 expressed hope that Grace-1 would be released soon.

Iran has announced that the United Kingdom might free its seized oil tanker after some documents were exchanged that would help secure its release.

Tehran maintains that the supertanker was not bound for Syria and its seizure has taken place at the behest of the US.

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Meanwhile, the country's semi-official Fars news agency quoted unidentified Gibraltar authorities saying Grace 1 will be freed by Tuesday evening.

"We continue to seek to de-escalate issues arising since the lawful detention of Grace 1", a spokesman said.

The UK Government had previously offered to help secure the release of the Grace 1 - pending due process in Gibraltar's courts - in return for guarantees from Tehran that it would not breach European Union sanctions on the Assad regime in Syria.

Tehran responded to the move in tit-for-tat fashion, detaining a British-flagged tanker in the Strait of Hormuz two weeks later.

The Iranian capture of the Stena Impero drew condemnation from Britain and other European parties to the nuclear deal that have been trying to salvage it by shielding Iran's economy from reimposed and toughened USA sanctions.

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