Iran says Britain might release Grace 1 oil tanker soon

The current detention order on the vessel expires on Saturday night after which a court is to decide on its fate

The current detention order on the vessel expires on Saturday night after which a court is to decide on its fate

British Royal Marines seized the Iranian oil tanker Grace 1 near Gibraltar on July 4, claiming it was transporting oil to Syria, in violation of European Union sanctions, which Iran denies.

"Britain is interested in releasing Iran's oil tanker Grace 1 ... following the exchange of some documents, we hope the release will take place soon", Jalal Eslami, the deputy head of Iran's Ports and Maritime Organization, was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency on Tuesday.

"The vessel was seized based on false allegations.it has not been freed yet", Eslami said.

However, a senior source in the government of British overseas territory denied that would happen on Tuesday.

Following Iran's move to capture a British oil tanker that had violated the maritime law in the Strait of Hormuz, the United States and the UK tried to carry out a plan for restrictions on maritime traffic in the strait, but their ploy ended in failure after it was given the cold shoulder by other countries, Eslami added. The territory has denied Iran's claim that the action was taken on the orders of Tehran's longtime foe Washington.

Two weeks after the ship's seizure, Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps captured a UK-flagged, Sweden-owned, vessel for breaking "international maritime" rules in the Strait of Hormuz.

Tanker Trackers, a company that monitors ship movements, said Grace-1 was sending signals on Monday that indicate it will leave Gibraltar toward a destination in Morocco, although the vessel is still in Gibraltar.

The tankers' affair has added to worsening hostilities since Washington pulled out of an worldwide agreement curbing Iran's nuclear programme and reimposed economic sanctions. Iran claimed that the vessel, the Stena Impero, had been "violating global maritime rules".

Millions of barrels of oil pass daily through the various bottlenecks from Middle East oil producers to markets across the globe.

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