The Iranian tanker Grace 1, which was seized by Gibraltar last month, will be allowed to sail after being renamed and reflagged under Iran's flag, a senior Iranian shipping official said on Friday August 16th.
The ship's seizure on July 4th, with the help of British Royal Marines, triggered a sharp deterioration in relations between Tehran and London and the reciprocal detention by Iran of the British-flagged tanker Stena Impero.
The Grace 1 will be renamed Adrian Darya and switch to the Iranian flag for its onward journey, the deputy head of Iran's Ports and Maritime Organisation, Jalil Eslami, told state television.
"The ship was of Russian origin and Panama-flagged and is carrying two million barrels of Iranian oil," he added.
Gibraltar's Supreme Court ordered the tanker to be released on Thursday August 15th after the British overseas territory said it had received assurances from Iran that the Grace 1 would not head to any country subject to European Union sanctions.
The vessel had been detained on suspicion that its cargo was destined for the Banyas oil refinery in Syria, in breach of an EU embargo.
Iran denied it had provided any assurances to secure the ship's release, saying Gibraltar was only seeking to "save face".
"Iran has given no assurances over the Grace 1 not going to Syria to secure its release," the state broadcaster's youth website quoted foreign ministry spokesperson Abbas Mousavi as saying on Friday.
"The tanker's destination was not Syria and even if it was, it did not concern anyone else."