Iran demands release of oil tanker seized in Gibraltar

Iran demands release of oil tanker seized in Gibraltar

The seizure of an Iranian tanker in the Gibraltar Strait by UK Royal Marines is "a form of piracy" proving that London is parroting "the hostile policies of the U.S." a senior Iranian Foreign Ministry official said.

The ministry condemned the move, calling it illegal and demanding the immediate release of the ship, IRNA reported.

Earlier it was reported that British Royal Marines seized an oil tanker in Gibraltar accused of bringing oil to Syria in violation of EU sanctions.

The Gibraltar government said it had reasonable grounds to believe that the Grace 1 was carrying crude oil to the Baniyas refinery in Syria.

"That refinery is the property of an entity that is subject to European Union sanctions against Syria. With my consent, our port and law enforcement agencies sought the assistance of the Royal Marines in carrying out this operation," Gibraltar Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said. 

Iran’s Foreign Ministry summoned the British ambassador to voice "its very strong objection to the illegal and unacceptable seizure" of its ship.

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