Monday, September 23, 2019
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MP Accuses Europe of Colluding with US against Iran

TEHRAN Britain's seizure of an Iran-operated supertanker in Spain's territorial waters was part of an American anti-Tehran conspiracy participated by Europeans, said Mohammad Javad Jamali, a senior member of Iran's Parliament.

Jamali said on Sunday that the seizure of the Iran-operated supertanker off the coast of Gibraltar was a predetermined scenario coordinated between Europe and the US, adding that the first objective of the move was to exert pressure on Iran, in the time that Tehran is urging the other sides of the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive plan of Action (JCPOA), to deliver on their promises.

Another objective of theirs was to escape forward, because the European sides to the nuclear deal have failed to live up to their commitments to the agreement and now seek to overshadow their JCPOA violations, he added.

Jalami maintained that Britain will always follow the US' policies.

He also stressed the need for pursuing the case through legal channels and the UN Security Council.

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