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  • The Adrian Darya 1 left Gibraltar around 11 p.m. for an unclear destination, shipping data showed.

    The Adrian Darya 1 left Gibraltar around 11 p.m. for an unclear destination, shipping data showed. | Photo: Reuters

Published 18 August 2019

The oil tanker’s detention already ended last week, but a United States federal court issued a warrant Friday for further detention.

The Iranian oil tanker seized as a tool of confrontation between the Persian country and the West has finally left Gibraltar Sunday after the British territory rejected a request from the United States to pursue the detention.

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The Adrian Darya 1, formerly known as Grace 1, left anchorage off Gibraltar around 11:00 p.m. local time for an unclear destination, shipping data showed.

Iran’s ambassador to Britain, Hamid Baeidinejad, confirmed the news on Twitter and said that the vessel began to move slowly toward international waters, while Tehran said it was ready to send its naval fleet to escort the tanker if needed.

The oil tanker’s retention already ended last week, but a United States federal court issued a warrant Friday for further detention, claiming that the vessel was linked to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which it has designated a terrorist organization.

The British territory responded that it could not follow Washington’s demand as EU’s law “is fundamentally different from that of the U.S.,” when it comes to the sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

“The EU sanctions regime against Iran, which is applicable in Gibraltar, is much narrower than that applicable in the U.S.,” the British government said in a statement, before it added that “the Gibraltar Central Authority is unable to seek an Order of the Supreme Court of Gibraltar to provide the restraining assistance required by the U.S.”

British Royal Marines had unlawfully seized the tanker 45 days ago under the pretext of suspicions it was carrying oil to Syria in violation of EU sanctions against the Arab country. Iran denied the tanker was ever headed to Syria and denounced the seizure as an act of “piracy.”

The seizing provoked an increase in international tensions that escalated when Tehran seized a British-flagged oil tanker in the Gulf two weeks later. 

The two vessels have since become the interposed instruments of a diplomatic war, against the backdrop of the U.S. last year’s pullout of the international nuclear agreement and its reimposition of unlawful economic sanctions on Iran by U.S. President Donald Trump.

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