TEHRAN/WASHINGTON, D.C. – A couple of days ago, the authorities of Gibraltar, which is an overseas territory of the UK, despite unprecedented pressure exerted by the US, suddenly released the Grace 1, an Iranian oil tanker, seized early last month. Its crew was also released. Washington, outraged, issued an impound warrant for the tanker. However, it’ll be hard to seize it now. Gibraltar has refused once again, and the Grace 1 has changed both its name and flag.
Renamed to Adrian Darya 1, the tanker is headed towards Greece. For almost 7 weeks, the vessel has been the focus of a tense stand-off between Iran and the West. Now its release by a Gibraltar court shows that the Iranian strategy of resistance has been largely successful. Tehran has shown it will respond to hostile acts. The tanker was released mainly because Iran seized a UK-flagged tanker, the Stena Impero, and its 23-man crew in retaliation to the Grace 1 seizure.