Wednesday, 18 September, 2019

Gibraltar rejects U.S. pressure to hold Iranian oil tanker

A crew member raises the Iranian flag at Iranian oil tanker Adrian Darya 1 before named as Grace 1 as it sits anchored after the Supreme Court of the British territory lifted its detention order in the Strait of Gibraltar Gibraltar turns down US request to seize Iranian tanker
Patty Aguilar | 18 August, 2019, 17:58

Iran's top diplomat said a USA attempt at "piracy" had failed after a Gibraltar court on Thursday ordered the release of a tanker carrying Iranian oil despite a United States detention request.

It clarified that the inability to seek the orders sought by the USA is based on the application of the European Union (EU) law and the differences in the sanctions regimes applicable to Iran in the EU and the US.

The vessel's detention looked like it had ended last week, after Iran gave a commitment in writing to Gibraltar that it would not sail on to Syria or anywhere else covered by European Union sanctions. Iran has denied that the tanker was ever headed to Syria.

It would therefore seem that after meeting all the requirements under its agreement with the Gibraltar authorities, the renamed Grace 1 would be ready to depart soon.

On Saturday, the US Government obtained a warrant from a US court in a last-ditch attempt to seize the tanker, which has now been renamed Adrian Darya 1 and re-registered under the Iranian flag.

"The 25-member crew will start their journey after preparations, including refuelling".

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The tanker raised an Iranian flag and and had a new name painted on its side, Reuters images of the stationary vessel filmed off Gibraltar showed on Sunday.

The vessel has been detained for over a month in Gibraltar for allegedly attempting to breach European Union sanctions on Syria.

Gibraltar's government announced this week it was releasing the supertanker despite pressure from the U.S. for the vessel's continued detainment.

Gibraltar's Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the release of the vessel after 43 days in detention. They should now be able to sail on to a destination agreed with Iran and the owner of the tanker - the National Iranian Oil Company.

Iranian ambassador to London, Hamid Baeidinejad wrote on a Sunday tweet that the act of having the Iranian oil tanker, Grace 1, renamed is in no relation with skirting the United States sanctions, since the tanker is not sanctioned and sails under the aegis of National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC).

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