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Gibraltar rejects US demand to detain Iran-operated supertanker

Gibraltar’s government says it has knocked back a request by Washington to detain the Adrian Darya 1 supertanker, which was seized by British marines in the Strait of Gibraltar last month carrying Iranian oil.

“The EU sanctions regime on Iran is fundamentally different to that of the US,” the Gibraltar Government said in a statement on Sunday.

“The Gibraltar Central Authority [for Mutual Legal Assistance] is unable seek an Order of the Supreme Court of Gibraltar to provide the restraining assistance required by the United States of America,” it added.

On Friday, the US Department of Justice (DOJ), on several allegations, unveiled a warrant for the seizure of the Iran-operated supertanker, which now raises an Iranian flag and has changed its name to Adrian Darya 1.

The DOJ also alleged that there had been “a scheme to unlawfully access the US financial system to support illicit shipments to Syria from Iran.”

Britain’s naval forces unlawfully seized the Grace 1 and its cargo of 2.1 million barrels of oil in the Strait of Gibraltar on July 4 under the pretext that the supertanker had been suspected of carrying crude to Syria in violation of the European Union’s unilateral sanctions against the Arab country.

Consisting of an irregular imposition of EU regulations on a non-EU member state, the measure was vehemently condemned by Tehran as being an act of “maritime piracy” done at the request of Washington.

Meanwhile, Iran’s Ambassador to the UK, Hamid Ba’idinejad, said that the vessel is expected to leave Gibraltar late Sunday.

“It is expected that the ship will set sail tonight,” the Iranian envoy said in a post on his Twitter page, adding that two engineering teams had been flown to Gibraltar.