Iran’s deputy foreign minister has revealed that the UK ambassador in Tehran visited the foreign ministry Saturday evening for a second time in recent days to discuss the issue of an Iranian oil tanker impounded at Gibraltar.
Abbas Araqchi told the media, “We are continuously in touch with the British government, and yesterday, once again, the British ambassador visited the foreign ministry and we also pursue legal channels.”
The tanker Grace 1 was stopped by Gibraltar authorities with the assistance of British Royal Marines on July 4 in territorial waters that Spain claims falls within its jurisdiction. It is said to be carrying around two million barrels of fuel oil to Syria, which is under European Union sanctions.
Araqchi added, “We have also invited the Spanish ambassador in Tehran and we are holding some discussions with the Spanish government.”
The impoundment of the tanker has been extended for two weeks and the United States has expressed its satisfaction at the British action to stop the ship.
However, Araqchi claimed on Sunday that the ship's destination was not Syria and was just “passing through international waters.”
No European country is buying oil from Iran under US sanctions, so it is not clear why the tanker was heading to the Mediterranean Sea if it was not on its way to Syria. Ship tracking companies have confirmed Grace 1 circled Africa after leaving the Arabian Gulf and reached Gibraltar heading into the Mediterranean.