Tuesday, September 17, 2019
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Ex-VP: Iran Should File Complaint against Britain at UN, Reciprocate Seizure of Oil Tanker

TEHRAN Former Iranian Vice-President for Legal Affairs Elham Aminzadeh underlined that the country should launch litigation at the UN bodies against Britain for its seizure of an Iranian oil tanker in the Strait of Gibraltar and adopt reciprocal measures against the British vessels in the Strait of Hormuz if legal moves fail to produce any result.

"The British have interfered in Iran's trade and oil affairs and in other words distorted Iran's oil trade and they also damaged the national interests of the country of origin and the country of destination, and Britain's move is violation of the nations' human rights," Aminzadeh said on Monday.

She said that Iran and the country which was due to receive the oil are entitled to file a complaint with the international bodies, including the UN, against Britain, adding that if the UN procrastinates or Britain defies the UN order, then Iran can embark on a reciprocal move to seize a British tanker.

"In such a case, Iran is allowed to adopt reciprocal measures against tankers which carry oil for Britain through the Strait of Hormuz," Aminzadeh said.

On early Thursday morning, British Royal Marines in Gibraltar stormed the Iran-operated supertanker Grace 1 off the coast of Gibraltar, seizing the 300,000-tonne vessel based on the accusation that it was carrying oil to Syria in possible violation of the European Union's sanctions on the war-torn Arab country.

According to Gibraltar authorities, the 28 crewmembers, who are nationals of India, Pakistan and Ukraine, are currently staying aboard the tanker, along with local police and customs officers boarding the vessel for a period of a probe.

Iran has condemned the move as maritime piracy and summoned Britain's ambassador in protest. It has vowed to employ all its political and legal capacities to secure the release of the vessel and uphold its rights.

Spain's acting Foreign Minister Josep Borrell stated on Friday that Madrid was planning to lodge a formal complaint against the UK and was studying the circumstances and looking at how the incident is affecting its sovereignty.

Spain, which challenges the British ownership of Gibraltar, has announced the seizure was prompted by a US request to Britain and appeared to have taken place in Spanish waters.

However, the British-claimed overseas territory rejected the claim, saying that Gibraltar had acted independently.

Gibraltar's position comes as a British foreign office spokesman had welcomed the move on Thursday, describing it as a firm action by the Gibraltarian authorities, acting to enforce the EU Syria Sanctions regime.

The seizure of the Panama-registered Grace 1 comes as the US has pledged to cut Iran's oil exports to zero as part of the sanctions that it has reinstated after leaving the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran in May last year, and many analysts take London's move as an indicator that the UK is not committed to the nuclear agreement and is much on the side of Washington in Trump's anti-Iran maximum pressure campaign.

Source: Fars News Agency