Oil tanker seized off Gibraltar not destined for Syria, says Iran

Iran calls US request for IAEA watchdog meeting ‘a sad irony

Iran calls US request for IAEA watchdog meeting ‘a sad irony

The orders to seize the vessel were made by Fabian Picardo, Chief Minister of HM Government of Gibraltar, who issued a statement to the effect that he had ordered seizure of the ship and its cargo.

The tanker's seizure "will not be tolerated by us and will not go without a response", said Amir Hatami, quoted by Iran's ISNA and Tasnim news agencies.

Any country on the board can call a meeting, and the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed in a note to member states that the meeting would be held next Wednesday at 2:30 pm after the IAEA this week said Iran had exceeded the maximum stock of enriched uranium allowed under the deal. He did not specify the final destination.

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The Grace 1 tanker was impounded in the British territory on the southern tip of Spain after sailing around Africa, the long route from the Middle East to the mouth of the Mediterranean. He said that no port in Syria is capable of docking the vessel - which is 1,000ft long - and it was therefore not violating European Union sanctions, as Britain has claimed. The E.U., as a matter of principle, does not apply its sanctions to non-members. Picardo gave as rationale, "we have reason to believe that the Grace 1 was carrying its shipment of crude oil to the Baniyas Refinery in Syria".

"Based on all the imagery we spent weeks reviewing, we could not see her loading crude oil". It's heavier than crude oil. "She is heavy", they said in a tweet on Thursday. "Fuel oil is a refined product and will not contain chemical signatures that can trace it back to Iran". Iran denies the vessel was headed to Syria, where the government of President Bashar al-Assad is an ally of Tehran.

Iran downed a US military drone on June 20 that it said was flying over one of its southern provinces on the Gulf.

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