Earlier, the government of Gibraltar, a UK overseas territory, said it had detained an Iranian supertanker loaded with two million barrels of crude oil.
Gibraltar’s chief minister said that decisions hadn’t been made at the behest of any other state or third party. He added that all relevant decisions in relation to Grace 1 were only taken due to the Gibraltar government’s belief that sanctions had been broken.
“All relevant decisions in respect of this matter were taken only as a direct result of the government of Gibraltar having reasonable grounds to believe the vessel was acting in breach of established EU sanctions against Syria,” Fabian Picardo told parliament.
On July 4, the UK Marines and Gibraltar authorities detained the supertanker Grace 1 for allegedly transporting crude oil to Syria. According to Chief Minister of Gibraltar Fabian Picardo, such measures were taken because of “information that gave the Gibraltar government reasonable grounds to assume that Grace 1 was acting in defiance of EU sanctions against Syria.”
Tehran rejected the allegations.
Following the incident, the Iranian Foreign Ministry protested the seizure of the oil tanker to UK Ambassador to Tehran Rob Macaire.
Ministry called it “a form of piracy” and reportedly provided the envoy with documents proving that Grace 1 was headed to a permitted destination.
Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory on the southern tip of the Iberian peninsula, adjacent to Spain, with a population of about 32,000. The territory is self-governing in all matters – including taxation – except foreign policy and defence, which are under the UK government’s jurisdiction.