Gibraltar Chief Minister says Iran has not breached law

September 14, 2019

TEHRAN - Gibraltar's Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said on Friday that it is difficult to say whether Iran breached international rules by selling the Grace 1 tanker oil to Syria.

“You can see from the images that the oil has ended up in Syria but that’s not to say that there’s a breach of the undertaking (by Iran),” The National quoted him as saying.

“If we had the assurance (that it was not), we would then have an obligation under the law to also let it go,” he said.

He added, “We did not have an undertaking that the oil would not end up in Syria. We had an undertaking from the Iranian government that they would not sell the oil to any EU sanctioned entity… not just Syria, even entities, some of them in Iran and subject to EU sanctions.”

Iranian Ambassador to London Hamid Baeidinejad said on Saturday, “When officials of England and Gibraltar decided to release the oil tanker, they pointed to Iran’s commitment. Certain opponents who could not believe release of the tanker through Iran’s political and diplomatic power falsely interpreted this commitment as Iran’s offering guarantees to the British government.”

“However, we are glad that it has become obvious for all that Iran’s commitment means Iranian embassy’s official remarks and note. It has become clear that Iran has sold its oil to a private company which is not contrary to official remarks in the embassy’s note,” he stated.

Adrian Darya 1 had been at the center of a dispute between Tehran and certain Western countries. It was photographed by satellite off the Syrian port of Tartus, a U.S. space technology company said on Friday, according to the Guardian.

Maxar Technologies Inc said the image showed the tanker Adrian Darya 1 very close to Tartus on September 6. The ship appeared to have turned off its transponder in the Mediterranean west of Syria, ship-tracking data showed. The tanker, which was loaded with Iranian crude oil, sent its last signal giving its position between Cyprus and Syria sailing north last Monday afternoon.

The vessel, formerly named Grace 1, was detained by British Royal Marine commandos off Gibraltar on July 4 as it was suspected to be en route to Syria in violation of European Union sanctions.

Gibraltar released the Iranian vessel on August 15 despite a last-minute legal bid by the United States to have it detained.

NA/PA

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