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IRGC Commander: Judiciary Should Decide about Freedom of British Tanker

 Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri said that the fate of violator British oil tanker seized in the Iranian waters depends on a decision made by the judiciary.

“The violations of the British ship are clear and it has had three violations which should be studied and the Judiciary and the Ports and Maritime Organization of Iran should decide about it,” Rear Admiral Tangsiri told reporters in Tehran on Sunday.

Asked about the possibility for the freedom of British oil tanker after Iranian tanker ‘Grace 1’ seized by Britain in the Strait of Gibraltar was released, he said, “Seizure and freedom of the two are not related.”

The British oil tanker, Stena Impero, was impounded by Iran’s IRGC on July 19 for numerous violations of international maritime regulations when it was passing through the Strait of Hormuz.  

The British-flagged vessel has 23 crew members, 18 of which were from India. The other crew members are from Russia, Latvia and the Philippines.

The apprehension of the British vessel came two weeks after British naval forces unlawfully seized Iranian-owned supertanker Grace 1 and its cargo of 2.1 million barrels of oil in the Strait of Gibraltar.

Britain claimed the seizure was based on suspicions that the Iranian tanker was carrying crude oil to Syria in violation of European Union sanctions against the Arab country.

Iran condemned the seizure of its tanker as “piracy”, vowing to employ all its political and legal capacities to secure the release of the vessel and uphold its rights.

Iranian supertanker Grace 1 was released from detention by Gibraltar authorities on Thursday, shunning a Washington request to transfer the seized ship to the US jurisdiction based on a mutual legal assistance agreement between the two sides.

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