Gibraltar rejects US demand to seize Iranian tanker
Gibraltar has denied a last-minute request by the US government to let it seize the Iranian oil tanker that was captured by UK Marines last month, stating that the US sanctions cited in the request do not apply in the European Union (EU). The vessel had been captured over suspicions that it was violating EU sanctions on Syria, but Gibraltar’s Supreme Court has ruled that the vessel “was never destined to an EU-sanctioned entity.”
The US wanted to seize the vessel because it was allegedly linked to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which the Trump administration designated a terrorist group earlier this year.
In a separate incident, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Monday ruled out talks between the US and Iran over a new nuclear deal, and said that the signatories of the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal should focus on trying to get the US to rejoin that agreement, which the Trump administration abandoned last year.
Tensions between Iran and the US and its allies have escalated in the last months. In July, the US accused Iran of carrying out attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. Since that month, Iran has also seized at least three foreign vessels in the Persian Gulf. Iran is frustrated with US sanctions on the country.