A tanker bearing Iranian crude was seized off Gibraltar, purportedly after the U.S. had called for its detention. A Gibraltarian official stated that “this action arose from information giving the Gibraltar government reasonable grounds to believe that the vessel, the Grace 1, was acting in breach of EU sanctions against Syria”. National Security Advisor John Bolton described the detention as “excellent news”, adding that the U.S. “and our allies will continue to prevent regimes in Tehran and Damascus from profiting off this illicit trade”. A senior Iranian official subsequently warned that “if Britain does not release the Iranian oil tanker, it is the authorities’ duty to seize a British oil tanker”; Tehran also insisted that the vessel was not bound for Syria.
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