Britain’s Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt wants to release the Iranian supertanker “Grace 1” set in Gibraltar – on one condition.
London is approaching the dispute over a Gibraltar-based Iranian oil tanker in Tehran: British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt said the British Overseas Territory would allow the vessel to be released if Iran were to guarantee that the cargo was not destined for Syria.
This was announced by Hunt after a “constructive telephone conversation” with his Iranian colleague Mohamed Jawad Sarif via short message service Twitter. The phone call has strengthened his belief that Iran does not want to further fuel tensions with the UK.
Sarif has assured that Iran wants to solve the problem and does not seek escalation, Hunt said. A confirmation from Tehran for the information initially did not exist.
The authorities in Gibraltar and the British Royal Navy had arrested the supertanker “Grace 1” in Gibraltar last week on suspicion of illegal oil shipments to Syria. The captain and three other members of the crew were temporarily arrested, but have since been released on bail.
Iran protested against the actions of the British authorities, ordered the ambassador several times and demanded that the ship be continued immediately. The Supreme Court in Gibraltar, however, ordered that the ship should not be allowed to leak again until at least July 21st.
Iran warns Great Britain about “dangerous games”
US officials also believe that the ship could bring Iranian oil to Syria, thereby violating US and EU sanctions. Iran denies that the oil supply was destined for Syria, but does not say what the target of the supertanker was instead.
Iran had warned the UK last time urgently: “If the British want to influence the US and engage in dangerous games, we advise them not to do this,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi on Friday.
An incident involving a British tanker in the Strait of Hormuz exacerbated the conflict on Wednesday. According to British sources, three Iranian boats had attempted to stop the British merchant ship from passing through. However, a British frigate forced them to turn off. Tehran, however, denied being involved in the incident.