Iran seeks release of British seized Grace1 supertanker soon following documents’ exchange

Grace 1 sits anchored after it was seized earlier this month by British Royal Marines in the Strait of Gibraltar

Iran says Britain might release seized Grace 1 oil tanker soon

Iran and the United Kingdom have exchanged documents and Britain has shown interest in resolving the issue with the Iranian oil tanker it seized in early July, the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported on Tuesday, quoting the deputy head of Iran's Ports and Maritime Organization (PMO), Jalil Eslami.

Earlier, a senior Gibraltarian government source denied Iran's semiofficial Fars news agency report that the tanker would be freed on August 13 in the evening.

"We believe that (the) Grace 1 oil tanker will resume operation under (the) Iranian flag in worldwide waters in the very near future", Eslami said, according to Iran's Fars news agency. "As this is an ongoing investigation, we are unable to comment further", he told the Reuters news agency.

A spokesperson said: "The investigations being conducted around the Grace 1 are a matter for the Government of Gibraltar".

Britain has claimed the Iranian-owned oil tanker was seized on suspicion of violating the European Union's unilateral bans against Syria.

The tanker seizures and other suspected Iranian operations against shipping in the Persian Gulf region have inflamed a crisis between Iran and the West triggered by the Trump administration's decision to quit the multiparty nuclear deal with Iran a year ago and renew crippling economic sanctions.

He noted that Iranian vessels, both oil tankers and merchant ships, are commuting under normal conditions in worldwide waters despite some difficulties.

He said the Iranian oil tanker will soon be released and resume sailing freely under the flag of Iran. Britain considers that action to have been illegal retaliation.

The capture of Grace 1 was condemned by Iran as "piracy" and warned that the interception would not go unanswered.

"We don't have any information at the moment", the representative said.

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