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Despite US Pressure, Gibraltar Releases Iran-Operated Tanker

Gibraltar’s government has released an Iranian-operated supertanker, which was seized by British marines in the Strait of Gibraltar on July 4, despite pressure from the United States for the vessel’s continued detainment.

"Authorities in Gibraltar have released the Iranian supertanker Grace 1, which was seized on July 4 on suspicion it was shipping 2.1 million barrels of crude oil to Syria in breach of EU sanctions," Reuters quoted the Gibraltar Chronicle as reporting on Thursday.

Spain’s Foreign Ministry reported after the incident that the UK had seized the vessel at the request of the US, which has been trying to trouble Iran’s international oil vessels as part of its campaign of economic pressure against the Islamic Republic.

  The Gibraltar government said in a statement earlier on Thursday that “the US Department of Justice has applied to seize the Grace 1 on a number of allegations which are now being considered."

It added that the “matter will return to the Supreme Court of Gibraltar at 4 p.m. (1400 GMT) today."

Soon after the report emerged about the release of the Iranian-operated tanker, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif took to Twitter noting that the seizure of the tanker proved the Trump administration’s contempt for the law.

  “This piracy attempt is indicative of Trump admin's contempt for the law,” Iran's top diplomat said.

Zarif added that the US effort to prevent release of the Iranian tanker was aimed at abusing “the legal system to steal our property on the high seas.”

He said this vain attempt followed the US failure in achieving its anti-Iranian goals through economic terrorism.

'US faced humiliating defeat in its effort to prevent tanker's release'

Following the decision by the Gibraltar court, Iran's Ambassador to UK Hamid Baeidinejad said in a tweet on his official Twitter page that the decision by the officials of Gibraltar put an end to 40 days of illegal seizure of the tanker, which carries the Iranian oil.

“Up to the last minute, the United States tried in vain to prevent the release of the tanker, but was faced with a humiliating defeat,” Iran's UK envoy added.

H.M

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