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Iran says Britain might release Grace 1 oil tanker soon

Iran says Britain might release Grace 1 oil tanker soon”

A senior official in Gibraltar denied reports Tuesday that an Iranian tanker seized near the British overseas territory is poised to be released.

Iran said today that the supertanker Grace 1 could be released "soon", after some documents were exchanged that would help the seized ship's release.

A source for the government of Gibraltar denied those reports while Britain said investigations into the tanker were a matter for its Mediterranean territory. It is suspected of violating European Union sanctions on oil shipments to Syria, and its seizure deepened global tensions in the Persian Gulf.

The deputy head of Iran's port authority, Jalil Eslami, said in a report by state news agency IRNA on Tuesday that Britain had shown an interest in overcoming the problem and documents had been exchanged.

"The vessel was seized based on false allegations.it has not been freed yet", Eslami said.

Tehran maintains that the supertanker was not bound for Syria and its seizure has taken place at the behest of the US.

Tanker Trackers, a company that monitors ship movements, said Grace-1 was sending signals on Monday that indicate it will leave Gibraltar toward a destination in Morocco, although the vessel is still in Gibraltar.

Iran has seized three tankers in strategic Gulf waters since last month, including a British-flagged vessel.

The tankers' affair has added to worsening hostilities since Washington pulled out of an worldwide agreement curbing Iran's nuclear programme and reimposed economic sanctions.

Unlike the seized Iranian tanker, which was carrying a cargo of up to 2.1 million barrels of oil, the Stena Impero was on its way to the Gulf and empty at the time it was seized by Iranian forces.

The Iranian capture of the Stena Impero drew condemnation from Britain and other European parties to the nuclear deal that have been trying to salvage it by shielding Iran's economy from reimposed and toughened US sanctions.



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