Iran’s Zarif accuses US of ‘piracy attempt’ over tanker held in Gibraltar

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Iran’s foreign minister accused the United States on Thursday of attempted piracy in trying to prevent Gibraltar’s release of an Iranian oil tanker.

Gibraltar decided on Thursday to free the Grace 1, detained off the British overseas territory six weeks ago.

But it said the US Department of Justice had applied to seize the tanker, held on suspicion of smuggling oil to Syria in breach of European Union sanctions.

“The US attempted to abuse the legal system to steal our property on the high seas,” Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted. “This piracy attempt is indicative of Trump admin’s contempt for the law.”

Meanwhile, the owner of an Iranian oil tanker that was seized off Gibraltar says the ship will head to Mediterranean ports, an Iranian maritime official was quoted as saying on Thursday, after Gibraltar decided to free the tanker.

“According to an announcement by the owner of the tanker, the destination of Grace 1 will be Mediterranean ports,” the deputy head of Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization, Jalil Eslami, was quoted as saying by the semi-official Mehr news agency. He did not name the owner.

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