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Iran Press TV

UK had no option but to end maritime piracy: Iran's Larijani

Iran Press TV

Sat Aug 17, 2019 04:15PM

Iran's Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani says Gibraltar's decision to release the Iran-operated Grace 1 supertanker shows that Britain had to retreat from its maritime piracy.

Larijani made the remarks while addressing an open session of parliament on Saturday after Gibraltar's government announced on Thursday that it was releasing the supertanker seized by British Marines in the Strait of Gibraltar following a series of diplomatic efforts by Iran and in spite of pressure from the US for the vessel's continued detainment.

In view of the Iranian nation's resistance over the past days, British officials realized that the Islamic Republic's current situation is not like the past when they used to bully the country through conspiracies, he added.

They were forced to retreat from their "maritime piracy," the top Iranian parliamentarian said.

Britain's naval forces unlawfully seized the Grace 1 and its cargo of 2.1 million barrels of oil in the Strait of Gibraltar on July 4 under the pretext that the supertanker had been suspected of carrying crude to Syria in violation of the European Union's unilateral sanctions against the Arab country.

Consisting of an irregular imposition of EU regulations on a non-EU member state, the measure was vehemently condemned by Tehran as being an act of "maritime piracy" done at the request of Washington.

The verdict by Gibraltar's Supreme Court to release the tanker came despite Washington's last-minute request to seize the vessel earlier in the day.

Following the court's verdict, Chief Minister of Gibraltar Fabian Picardo said the vessel is "able to leave as soon as she organizes the logistics necessary in order to sail a ship of that size wherever it's going next."

However, a lawyer representing the ship's captain said while speaking to the Associated Press on Friday that the Grace 1 supertanker needs repairs, which may delay the vessel's departure.

Richard Wilkinson, which also represents a number of the ship's other previously detained crew members, said that the tanker had been due for repairs in Gibraltar before its seizure but the ordeal had hindered the replacement of certain parts.

The lawyer added that the tanker was currently unfit for an immediate long voyage, casting doubt about the possibility of a speedy departure.

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