TEHRAN Iranian First Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri underlined that London and Washington in a collaborated move seized Iran's oil tanker in the Strait of Gibraltar after witnessing the country's capability to sell crude despite sanctions.
"The US and UK's measure to seize Iran's oil tanker was in violation of international laws and this act will bring disgrace upon them," Jahangiri said, addressing a conference of Iranian governors in Tehran on Thursday.
"They realized that Iran has found solutions to sell its oil; so they went too far, and ignoring international regulations, ignited a spark which will embroil themselves, he added.
We have sold our oil and oil sales are increasing day by the day, Jahangiri said.
Last Thursday morning, British Royal Marines in Gibraltar stormed an Iran-operated supertanker off the coast of Gibraltar, seizing the 300,000-tonne Grace 1 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 came as the US pledged to cut Iran's oil exports to zero as part of the sanctions that it has reinstated after leaving a landmark multilateral 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 anti-Iran maximum pressure campaign.
Source: Fars News Agency