Tehran said on Monday that it has warned Washington against making another attempt to seize an Iranian tanker that has departed Gibraltar despite a US bid to have it detained.
“Iran has given necessary warnings to American officials through its official channels… not to make such a mistake because it would have grave consequences,” Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi told a news conference.
Gibraltar seized the Grace 1 on July 4 over claims it was transporting oil to Syria in breach of European Union sanctions, triggering a sharp deterioration in relations between Tehran and London. Iran has repeatedly denied any violations.
Its Supreme Court ordered the tanker released last Thursday, with Iranian officials saying a new crew had arrived to pilot the vessel — now renamed the Adrian Darya — and its 2.1 million barrels of oil.
But on Friday, the US Justice Department filed a last-minute request to detain the ship, alleging it was involved in supporting illicit shipments to Syria by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, the Iranian foreign ministry spokesman dismissed the notion that there was a link between the two seizures.
“There is no connection whatsoever between these two vessels,” said Mousavi.
“There have been two or three maritime violations made by that ship,” he said, referring to the British-flagged Stena Impero held off the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas.
“The court is looking into it. We hope the (investigation) is completed as soon as possible and the verdict is issued.”