IRAN is preparing to release a British tanker today after its own ship – seized by the Royal Marines – was spotted off the coast of Syria.
The vessel had been intercepted in the Strait of Hormuz oil shipping lanes after Britain impounded Iranian tanker Adrian Darya 1 off Gibraltar.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry today confirmed: “We are preparing for the release of the detained British tanker and legal proceedings are nearing completion.”
Iranian officials said the group would be released from the Stena Impero after seven weeks for “humanitarian reasons”.
The Adrian Darya-1 was seized with the aid of British forces in July, suspected of ferrying oil to the Assad regime in breach of EU sanctions.
The US has alleged that the Adrian Darya-1 is owned by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, a branch of the Iranian Armed Forces tasked with protecting the country’s regime from outside interference and considered a terrorist organisation by the US.
It was released on August 18 and claimed it was heading for the Kalamata port in Greece, a port too small to accommodate a ship of that size.
Satellite images released yesterday showed the vessel just two nautical miles off the port city of Tartus on Syria’s Mediterranean coast.
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The UK’s Foreign Office said in a statement that reports about the ship’s location were “deeply troubling”, and that for Iran to renege on its assurances would be a “violation of international norms and a morally bankrupt course of action”.
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