TEHRAN – Police Gibraltar said Saturday that four members of the crew of Iranian oil Grace in January have been released ‘on bail without charge’ (held hostage pending ransom – ed) after being detained last week on suspicion of violating European sanctions to bring oil to Syria a week.
In a statement, the Royal Gibraltar Police, the main civil law enforcement agency in that British territory, maintained that the four crew members were granted bail with conditions.
Gibraltar is a British overseas territory located on a small peninsula on the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula, bordering Spain.
In Tehran, the Iranian government demanded that London return the tanker that it confiscated in Gibraltar, accusing the United Kingdom of incurring “a dangerous game”.
The Foreign Ministry insisted the Government of London to release its tanker “soon”, and said that “the British claim on the oil tanker is legally null,” the Iranian news agency IRNA reported.
In a parallel event, the British Navy declared last Thursday that it had stopped three Iranian military vessels that were to block the passage of a British oil tanker through the Strait of Hormuz.
“Against international law, three Iranian vessels tried to prevent the passage of a commercial vessel, the British Heritage,” said the British Ministry of Defense.
Both the Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, and the Revolutionary Guards denied any involvement to the British Heritage incident.
It appears that the British created this fake news story, primarily through American media. The goal would have been to create a story with similar themes, involving the same players, but with a reversal on the activities themselves. In the fake news story, Iranians attempted to stop a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, but backed down once an accompanying British naval vessel ‘flexed’.
In the real story, the British authorities in Gibraltar illegally detained an Iranian oil tanker and its crew, and held them ransom. They still possess the ship.
Spain said after the retention of the supertanker that the United Kingdom acted at the request of the United States, after several weeks of escalation of tension with Iran after several incidents in the Gulf of Oman before the Iranian nuclear threat, which ensures that it has already exceeded the limit of uranium.
Since Washington decided to withdraw from the international nuclear agreement signed with Iran in 2015, it has gradually increased its sanctions against the regime, in a policy of “maximum pressure” to try to reduce the country’s oil exports to zero.
The British seizure of the British ship, and its holding the crew ransom, is a case of piracy in international waters.