MP calls release of oil tanker a victory for Iran’s diplomacy

August 23, 2019

TEHRAN - Mohammad Javad Jamali, a senior Iranian lawmaker, has said that release of the supertanker Grace 1 has been a victory for Iran’s diplomacy.

In an interview with ISNA published on Friday, Jamali, a member of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, said the tanker was seized upon an order by the U.S. and its release has been “hard” for Washington.

The Gibraltar government, a semi-autonomous territory ruled by London, released on August 15 the Iranian supertanker despite the U.S. attempts to block it.

The tanker was seized in a British Royal Navy operation off the coast of Gibraltar on July 4 under the claim that it was carrying oil for Syria.

Iran had vehemently rejected the claim that the tanker was destined for Syria. Iran has further said the sanctions on Syria does not apply to non-EU members.

In a tweet on August 15, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called detention of the tanker “100 percent unlawful”.

“Our London Embassy note to UKFCO: -Protested the illegal detention of Grace1; -Repeated public statements about destination; & -Made it crystal clear that EU sanctions do NOT apply to Iran—a position shared by most Europeans. Nothing changes the fact: detention was 100% unlawful,” he tweeted.

UKFCO is an abbreviation for the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. 

In another tweet, Zarif said, “Having failed to accomplish its objectives through its economic terrorism—including depriving cancer patients of medicine— the U.S. attempted to abuse the legal system to steal our property on the high seas.”

Zarif added, “This piracy attempt is indicative of Trump admin's contempt for the law.”

Iranian Ambassador to London Hamid Baeidinejad also tweeted on August 15, saying that the U.S. was desperately trying to prevent release of the tanker and faced a humiliating defeat.  

“The U.S. in a last minute attempt made a futile effort to block the release of the oil tanker and were faced with humiliating defeat. With recent attempts, all necessary preparations and technical issues to release the tanker to an open sea have been arranged and the ship will soon leave Gibraltar,” he wrote on Twitter, in Farsi.

Iranian Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani said on August 17 that the British are well aware that Iran’s situation is different from the past.

Speaking during an open session of the parliament, Larijani said that the British can no longer hatch plots and show muscles to Iran.

Also, government spokesman Ali Rabiei said in a tweet message on August 16 that the tanker was released despite the U.S. pressure and this is a “defeat” for Washington.

NA/PA

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