Iran’s ambassador to the United Kingdom says his government has not given any commitment to Gibraltar that its freed oil tanker will not sail for Syria.
According to Iran’s Fars news agency, close to the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), Hamid Baeidinejad has said, “There is no issue of a commitment or a guarantee. We had announced from the very beginning that the destination of the tanker was not Syria”.
Grace-1, an Iranian supertanker holding two million barrels of oil was detained by Gibraltar in early July on charges of breaking EU sanctions by carrying oil destined for Syria.
The seizure, backed by the UK led to a rise in tensions between London and Tehran, eventually leading to the seizure of a British tanker by Iran in the Arabian Gulf.
Baeidinejad added, “Even if the destination of the tanker was Syria, this would not be an action by Iran violating any international law.
Gibraltar freed the tanker on August 15 and Gibraltar"s Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo announced Iran has given guarantees the tanker will not sail to Syria. He said that Iran had given a written guarantee August 13, that if Grace-1 is freed it would go to any destination, which would be in violation of EU sanctions.
Britain's Foreign Office said Iran must abide by its pledge that the ship would not sail for Syria. There was "no comparison or linkage between Iran's unacceptable and illegal seizure of, and attacks on, commercial shipping vessels in the Strait of Hormuz and the enforcement of EU Syria sanctions by the Government of Gibraltar," it added in a statement.
Reports had earlier said that the United States made a last-minute attempt to have the vessel seized, but Gibraltar went ahead lifted the detention.