TEHRAN (AFP) – Iran’s Defence Minister vowed yesterday to respond to Britain detaining an oil tanker off the coast of Gibraltar, local media reported.
The tanker’s seizure “will not be tolerated by us and will not go without a response,” said Amir Hatami, as quoted by semi-official news agency ISNA and Tasnim news agency.
“This move is against international regulations and a kind of a maritime piracy,” he added, speaking at a ceremony at Bandar Abbas port in southern Iran.
The 330-metre Grace 1, capable of carrying two million barrels of oil, was halted last Thursday by police and customs agencies in Gibraltar, a British overseas territory on Spain’s southern tip.
Authorities in Gibraltar said they suspected the tanker was carrying crude to Syria in violation of EU sanctions.
Tehran denies this and claims the vessel was intercepted in international waters.