UK is ready to help release of Iranian tanker if it gets Syria guarantees

UK Foreign Sectetary Jeremy Hunt

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he had spoken on the phone with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Saturday and told him that London would facilitate release of the Iranian oil tanker impounded in Gibraltar if it could prove the cargo wasn't going to Syria. Hunt wrote on Twitter that his counterpart said he wants to resolve the issue and is not seeking to escalate the situation.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry confirmed on its website that the two men had spoken over the telephone. "We hope that the legal investigations in Gibraltar will soon lead to the release of the Iranian tanker," Tehran's top diplomat was quoted as saying.

Officials in Gibraltar and the British Royal Navy had seized the Grace 1 supertanker last week near Gibraltar on suspicion of transporting crude oil to Syria in violation of EU sanctions.The captain and three others were arrested and later released on bail. Iran has protested the British authorities' actions, summoning their ambassador several times and calling for the ship to be released immediately. The incident became more inflamed on Wednesday after Britain's Defence Ministry said three Iranian ships had tried to "impede" a British oil tanker as it travelled through the Strait of Hormuz last week. Tehran denies that it was involved in the incident.


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