Iranian oil tanker seized off Gibraltar
by Onize Ohikere
Posted 7/05/19, 11:21 am
British Royal Marines on Thursday assisted Gibraltar port and law enforcement agencies in seizing an Iranian supertanker suspected of transporting oil to Syria. Officials detained the Grace 1 about 2 miles south of Gibraltar in what Britain considers its territorial waters. Authorities suspect the vessel was transporting crude oil to Syria’s Banias refinery, which is subject to European Union sanctions. Spain’s foreign minister said the seizure followed a request from the United States.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry called the vessel’s seizure a “form of piracy” and called for its release. “If England does not release the Iranian oil tanker, the duty … [of Iran] is to respond and seize one English oil tanker,” said Mohsen Rezaei, a former leader of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.
Iran announced this week it will increase its nuclear fuel enrichment in defiance of its crumbling 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.
U.S. national security adviser John Bolton tweeted that the seizure was “excellent news,” adding, “America & our allies will continue to prevent regimes in Tehran & Damascus from profiting off this illicit trade.”
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Onize is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Abuja, Nigeria.