Iran views the now released Iranian oil tanker and the UK-flagged oil tanker that Iran detained a few weeks after Gibraltar and the UK Royal Marines seized Iran’s tanker, as two separate issues, Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri, the Navy Commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), said this weekend. The statement indicates that Iran has no intention of releasing the British tanker simply because it’s own tanker has been released.
The two ships’ “detention or release are not related with one another,” Iranian media quoted Tangsiri as saying.
“There is no relation between the release of Grace 1 from Gibraltar and the British oil tanker detained by IRGC,” Iran’s Mehr News Agency reported, citing Tangsiri.
Several high-profile incidents in recent weeks and months have increased the tension between Iran and the West in the Middle East and in the most important oil shipping corridor in the world, the Strait of Hormuz, which is in close proximity to Iranian coasts.
In one of the most prominent incidents in the Gulf in the past month, Iran seized a British-flagged oil tanker in what appeared to be a retaliatory move after the British overseas territory Gibraltar seized the Iranian oil tanker.
Bit according to the IRGC’s Navy Commander Tangsiri, the corps seized the British oil tanker because it had infringed international maritime regulations three times.
According to Iran’s state news agency IRNA, the deputy head of Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization (PMO), Jalil Eslami said last week that the U.S. and the UK “have launched propaganda against Iran,” referring to “Iran’s seizing the UK oil tanker because of violating International Law of the Sea and US forming a coalition to escort ships in the Persian Gulf.”
The fate of the UK-flagged tanker lies in the hands of the Port and Maritime Organization of Iran (PMO) and the Iranian judiciary system, Tangsiri said on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the Iranian tanker, now renamed from Grace 1 to Adrian Darya 1, left Gibraltar on Sunday after the government of Gibraltar said it is unable seek an Order of the Supreme Court of Gibraltar to provide the restraining assistance the U.S. has required to keep the tanker detained.