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Despite US pressure, freed Iranian tanker set sail to unknown destination

ANI | August 19, 2019 12:41 PM
Iranian oil tanker Adrian Darya

London [UK], Aug 19 (ANI): An Iranian oil tanker which was seized by the United Kingdom six weeks ago was released on Sunday and was seen moving away from Gibraltar.

This releasing of Adrian Darya, formerly known as Grace 1, comes despite United States' demand to Gibraltor authorities to detain the vessel on its behalf.

The tanker set sail under the Iranian flag for an unknown destination, reported CNN.

"Around the clock efforts have been underway to perform the logistical procedures at the port and to secure a complete crew. Contacts with the coordinating company are happening moment by moment. With the arrival of two engineering teams from two separate locations, the tanker is expected to depart Gibraltar tonight," Iran's ambassador to the UK, Hamid Baeidinejad, said earlier in the day on Twitter.

This comes hours after Gibraltar authorities rejected the United States' renewed request to not release the Iranian oil tanker, citing the inability to comply with it due to European Laws.

Adrian Darya was seized off the shore of Gibraltar, a semiautonomous British territory, by British Royal Marines last month. The British alleged that Iran breached sanctions by exporting crude oil to Syria, reported Al Jazeera.

In retaliation, Tehran quickly seized the British-flagged tanker, Steno Impero, in the Strait of Hormuz.

A court in Gibraltar ruled last month that the detained Iranian vessel can be held for an additional 30 days, the period which ended on Sunday. The next hearing was scheduled for Thursday morning.

However, when the hearing started, Gibraltar official revealed about the US' request to seize Grace 1. However, the tanker was released.

Iran and the US are at loggerheads since US President Donald Trump in 2018 decided to withdraw from the 2015 Nuclear deal. Trump has accused Iran of not following the terms of the deal. (ANI)

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