Gibraltar ‘seeks to de-escalate’ Britain-Iran tanker standoff

Gibraltar said on Tuesday it was seeking to help de-escalate UK-Iran tensions since the detention of the Grace 1 tanker, Reuters said.

British Royal Marines seized the Iranian oil tanker on July 4 off the coast of Gibraltar on suspicion of violating EU sanctions by taking oil to Syria, which Tehran denies.

“We continue to seek to de-escalate issues arising since the lawful detention of Grace 1,” a spokesman for Gibraltar said. The current detention order on the vessel expires on Saturday night.

Tehran said on Tuesday that Britain might free its oil tanker Grace 1 soon, after “some documents were exchanged” which could assist in getting the seized ship released.

Jalil Eslami, the deputy head of Iran’s maritime agency, predicted the release at a news conference, and his remarks were reported by several Iranian news organizations with ties to the government.

“We believe that Grace 1 oil tanker will resume operation under Iranian flag in international waters in the very near future,” Mr. Eslami said, according to the Fars news agency. PressTV quoted him as saying, “Certain documents have been exchanged, which would help settle the issue.”

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