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Gibraltar authorizes the Iranian ship ready to leave the Rock after receiving guarantees from Tehran that it will not go to Syria

August 15, 2019

Iranian oil tanker Grace 1 captured by Gibraltar – REUTERS / STRINGER. – Archive

London warns Iran that to fulfill its commitment that the tanker will not now go to Syria

The Government of Gibraltar has given the green light this Thursday to the Iranian oil tanker arrested in early July leaving the Rock after receiving Tehran's assurances that the cargo of crude oil transported will not be landed in Syria.

In a statement, the main minister, Fabian Picardo, has justified his decision to lift the seizure of the ship, explaining that when this happened, on July 4, there was solid documentary evidence that 'Grace 1' was heading to Syria, but Now it has received written guarantees from the Iranian Government that the 2.1 million barrels of oil it carries will not be landed in Syria.

“On August 13, I received a written guarantee from the Republic of Iran that, if released, the fate of 'Grace 1' would not be an entity subject to European Union sanctions,” he explained, noting that as a result from this “we have deprived the (Bashar) al Assad regime in Syria of more than 140 million dollars of valuable crude oil.”

So, and after the request made by Tehran on August 5 for the release of the tanker, Picardo has stressed that “in light of the guarantees we have received, there are no longer reasonable grounds for the continued legal detention of 'Grace 1 'to ensure compliance with the EU Sanctions Regulations “.

The Gibraltar authorities retained 'Grace 1' on suspicion that he intended to bring oil to Syria, something that would contravene the sanctions imposed by the EU against the Bashar al Assad regime. Two weeks later, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard captured the British tanker 'Stena Impero'.

On the other hand, Picardo has confirmed that his Government has received a request from the US Department of Justice to “initiate a new legal procedure for the detention of the ship.”

According to the main minister, the decision now corresponds to the “independent Mutual Legal Assistance authorities, who will adopt an objective and legal decision of that request for a separate procedure.”

Therefore, Picardo added, “the 'Grace 1' has been released from detention under the Law on Sanctions by law enforcement, as confirmed by the president of the Supreme Court this afternoon.” In addition, he has taken the opportunity to value the performance of the Rock in this case.

“Gibraltar is a jurisdiction that acts in accordance with the law and is committed to the rules-based international legal order,” he said, ensuring that the territory “can be proud of the role it has played in monitoring the entrance to the Mediterranean and in compliance with EU sanctions “.

LONDON MESSAGE

For its part, the British Foreign Ministry has “taken note” of the conclusion of the legal proceedings initiated by Gibraltar to prevent the tanker from carrying his cargo to Syria and that the Rock Executive has received guarantees from Iran.

“Iran must comply with the guarantees it has offered” that the ship will not go once it has been released to Syria, a Foreign Office spokesman said. “We will not remain impassive and allow Iran, or any other, to obviate the vital sanctions of the EU against a regime that has used chemical weapons against its own people,” said the Boris Johnson Government.

On the other hand, the Foreign Office has made it clear that “there is no comparison or relationship between the unacceptable and illegal seizure and attacks against commercial ships in the Strait of Hormuz and compliance with EU sanctions on Syria by the Government of Gibraltar. ” “The freedom of navigation of commercial vessels must be respected and International Law defended,” London stressed.

THERE IS NO DATE FOR THE VESSEL OF THE VESSEL

For now it is not clear when the Rock could leave the ship. Previously, the captain and three officers of 'Grace 1' had already been released.

As the Iranian ambassador to London, Hamid Baeidinejad, has stated on his Twitter, “all preparations are being made so that the tanker will soon navigate to open water and the ship will soon leave Gibraltar.”

For his part, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohamad Javad Zarif has criticized Washington's last-minute efforts. “Having failed to achieve its objectives through its economic terrorism, including depriving cancer patients of medicines, the United States attempted to abuse the legal system to steal our property offshore,” he wrote on his Twitter.

“This attempted piracy is indicative of the Trump Administration's disdain for the law,” added the Iranian minister.