Gibraltar Police Arrest Captain of Iranian Tanker Smuggling Oil to Syria
Gibraltar police said they have arrested the captain and chief officer of the detained Iranian Grace 1 supertanker accused of violating EU sanctions on Syria and have seized documents and electronic devices from the vessel, Reuters reported.
Last week British Royal Marines boarded the tanker off Gibraltar and seized it on suspicion that it was breaking EU sanctions by taking Iranian oil to Syria.
“The investigation is still ongoing and the Grace 1 continues detained,” Gibraltar police said in a statement on Thursday.
The United States quit an agreement last year between Iran's regime and world powers to curb Tehran's nuclear program. Washington sharply tightened sanctions against the Iranian regime since May with the aim of bringing its oil exports to zero. The Iranian regime responded by stepping up production of enriched uranium beyond limits in the nuclear deal.
Britain’s seizure of the Iranian ship last week changed the diplomatic calculus after weeks in which Washington’s European allies have strained to appear neutral. They disagreed with President Trump’s decision to quit the nuclear pact last year.
Although EU states have not followed Washington in imposing sanctions on Iran's regime, they have sanctions in place that forbid selling oil to the Iranian regime’s ally Syria.
A senior military commander of the Iranian regime on Thursday said Britain and the United States would regret detaining the vessel.
A spokesman for the U.S. military’s Central Command said threats to navigation require an international solution: “The world economy depends on the free flow of commerce, and it is incumbent on all nations to protect and preserve this lynchpin of global prosperity,” said Captain Bill Urban.