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Iran’s UK envoy: Tanker-for-tanker barter impossible

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iran's Ambassador to London, Hamid Baeidinejad

Iran’s ambassador to London rules out a suggestion made by some British media outlets for an exchange between the countries featuring an Iranian-operated supertanker and a British-flagged vessel.

“Impossible to advance a quid pro quo or barter exchange of detained UK and Iranian ships as some British media suggest,” Hamid Baedinejad tweeted on Monday.

“UK has illegally detained the ship carrying Iranian oil while the British ship is detained for violating some key safety/security regulations in Hormuz Strait,” he added.

On July 4, British naval forces in the Strait of Gibraltar off Spain seized the supertanker Grace 1 on the accusation that it was carrying Iranian oil to Syria in violation of the European Union’s unilateral sanctions on the Arab country. Iran has denied that the vessel was heading for Syria, and Spain later informed that London had ordered the confiscation at the request of the United States, which is trying to trouble Iran’s international oil sales.

Later in the month, Iran seized an oil tanker sailing under the British ensign in the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf “for failing to respect international maritime rules.” The tanker had failed to respond to pertinent authorities after an accident involving an Iranian fishing boat and changed route instead.

The UK outlets had made the suggestion for the exchange, misinterpreting remarks made earlier by the head of Iran's Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, Kamal Kharrazi.

Kharrazi had said, “We hope that the Britons would release the Iranian tanker, and also that taking place of due process in Iran would lead to release of the British tanker too.”

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