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Iran says seized oil tanker in Gibraltar wasn't sailing to Syria

Iran says seized oil tanker in Gibraltar wasn't sailing to Syria

"If Britain does not release the Iranian oil tanker, it is the Iranian authorities' duty to make a reciprocal move and seize a British oil tanker", said Mohsen Rezaei, the secretary of Iran's Expediency Discernment Council.

He questioned the seizure's legality, saying "Iran is neither a member of the EU nor subject to any European oil embargo". "We consider this an act of piracy".

However, Gibraltar says it had reasonable grounds to feel the Grace 1 ship was carrying crude oil to the Baniyas refinery in Syria.

"We have shown that we will never remain silent against bullying.As we gave a staunch response to the American drone, the appropriate response to this illegal capture (of the tanker) will be given by Iran as well", he said.

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The move provoked fury in Iran, which accused Britain of bowing to United States pressure to blockade its oil exports, even summoning the British ambassador to the foreign ministry in Tehran to express "its very strong objection to the illegal and unacceptable seizure" of the 300-meter vessel.

Maj. Gen. Seyed Abdolrahim Mousavi said that Tehran is not looking for war with any country, according to the semi-official Mehr news agency.

A day after Iran drew worldwide condemnation for announcing that it was rolling back some of its commitments under its landmark nuclear deal with world powers, the commander of Iran's armed forces said Monday that his country does not want to provoke a conflict. 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 government of Gibraltar said on Friday that they had received permission from their supreme court to hold the tanker for fourteen days. The E.U., as a matter of principle, does not apply its sanctions to non-members.