Iran says Britain might release seized Grace 1 oil tanker soon


The official said a report by Iran's semi-official Fars news agency that the Grace 1 tanker is leaving Tuesday night are "untrue".

"The seizure of the Iranian oil tanker was based on unrealistic reasons and PMO is making efforts to have it released", he said.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Jalil Eslami, Iran's Ports and Maritime Organization's deputy head, said Tehran has been making efforts towards securing the release of oil tanker Grace 1, which was seized with a cargo of 2.1 million barrels of oil by United Kingdom marines in the Strait of Gibraltar in July, reports Press TV.

Iran said today that the supertanker Grace 1 could be released "soon", after some documents were exchanged that would help the seized ship's release. A court in Gibraltar will decide the fate of the ship on Thursday, when an order for its detention lapses.

IRNA news agency report Jalil Eslami, deputy head of Iran's Ports and Maritime Organisation, as claiming that a breakthrough in the Strait of Hormuz oil tanker crisis may be on the horizon, according to Reuters.

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On July 19, Iran's Revolutionary Guards impounded the British-flagged Stena Impero oil tanker in the strategic Strait of Hormuz for breaking "international maritime rules".

Tanker traffic through the Strait - where a fifth of the world's oil passes - has become the focus of a standoff between Iran and the U.S., which has beefed up its military presence in the Gulf since May.

Britain has accused the vessel of violating European sanctions by taking oil to Syria, a charge Tehran denies.

In a further escalation of tensions, Iran's foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif warned Tehran would launch legal action over the vessel's alleged breaches of maritime law.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had warned London that it will definitely pay the price for the illegal seizure of Grace 1 in global waters.