Iran says seized oil tanker in Gibraltar wasn't sailing to Syria

Cheryl Sanders
July 11, 2019

After the incident Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran's foreign minister, said the UK's action had set "a risky precedent and must end now".

He questioned the seizure's legality, saying "Iran is neither a member of the EU nor subject to any European oil embargo".

Tehran denies this and claims the vessel was intercepted in worldwide waters.

The tanker's seizure "will not be tolerated by us and will not go without a response", said Amir Hatami, quoted by Iran's ISNA and Tasnim news agencies. The orders to seize the vessel were made by Fabian Picardo, Chief Minister of HM Government of Gibraltar, who issued a statement to the effect that he had ordered seizure of the ship and its cargo. Nonetheless, Spain's acting Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said Gibraltar had seized the ship after a request from the Britain.

British Royal Marines impounded the tanker in Gibraltar on Thursday on suspicion it was carrying oil to Syria in violation of European Union sanctions.

The following day, the government of Gibraltar said it had been granted a Supreme Court order allowing for the vessel to be held for up to 14 days. Hard-liners in Iran have demanded retaliatory measures, with the country's former Revolutionary Guards commander Mohsen Rezaee last week claiming it was the country's "duty" to seize a British oil tanker.

Separately, Mr Hatami said Iran's downing of an unmanned American aircraft last month sent a message that the Islamic Republic would defend its borders.

"We have shown that we will never remain silent against bullying", said cleric Mohammad Ali Mousavi Jazayeri, warning of "an appropriate response" and mentioning Iran's shooting down of a United States drone last month.

"America & our allies will continue to prevent regimes in Tehran & Damascus from profiting off this illicit trade", Bolton added.

Other reports by iNewsToday