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Seized Iran tanker to be released in Gibraltar

  • 15 August 2019

The Grace 1 off GibraltarImage copyright

Image caption

The Grace 1 off Gibraltar

A seized Iranian tanker held in Gibraltar is to be released, the local supreme court has ruled, despite a last-minute plea by the US authorities.

Gibraltar received formal written assurances from Iran that the ship would not discharge its cargo in Syria.

Grace 1, carrying Iranian oil, was stopped by Royal Marines on 4 July, triggering a standoff with Tehran.

Gibraltar’s chief justice, Anthony Dudley, said no US application was currently before the court.

A couple of weeks after the Iranian tanker was stopped, Iran seized a British-flagged tanker, the Stena Impero, in the Gulf and, despite official denials, there has been speculation of a swap if the Grace 1 is freed.

Relations between the US and Iran have deteriorated sharply since US President Donald Trump took office in 2017, with the two countries coming close to armed conflict in June.