Tehran warned that any U.S. move to seize the vessel again would have “heavy consequences”.
The Iranian oil tanker at the center the confrontation between Iran and Washington is heading for Greece Monday after it was unseized off Gibraltar. Tehran has claimed compensation for the illegal detention, while the United States has warned Greece and Mediterranean ports against helping the vessel.
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“The detention is not compensated simply by the release of the ship, but legal procedures are required in terms of compensation to give lessons to all those who violate international law,” said Chief Justice Ebrahim Raisi on Monday.
At the same time, Tehran warned that any U.S. move to seize the vessel again would have “heavy consequences”.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif appeared to downplay the possibility of military conflict with Washington in an interview on U.S. television, he also indicated on a visit to Finland that Washington was seeking “more escalation.”
A U.S. State Department official was cited by Reuters as saying on Monday that aiding the vessel Adrian Darya 1 has “potential criminal consequences,” as the ship has become a tool of confrontation between the Persian country and the U.S.
The Grace 1, renamed the Adrian Darya 1, left anchorage off Gibraltar about 11:00 p.m. local time on Sunday. Refinitiv ship tracking data showed on Monday that the vessel was heading to Kalamata in Greece and was scheduled to arrive next Sunday at midnight.
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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.
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.