The British-flagged tanker seized by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards more than two months ago has been released, according to Iranian officials.
“The legal process has finished and based on that the conditions for letting the oil tanker go free have been fulfilled and the oil tanker can move,” Ali Rabiei, Iran’s government spokesman, said on Monday, according to the official IRNA news agency.
The Stena Impero’s Swedish owners are yet to confirm the vessel has been freed from the port city of Bandar Abbas, but had said on Sunday its release was imminent.
The release of the vessel comes a day before a meeting between Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, and the British prime minister, Boris Johnson, on the sidelines of the UN general assembly in New York.
The boat was dramatically seized on 19 July as it passed through the strait of Hormuz after Iranian officials claimed it had infringed maritime regulations. Footage released by Iran showed Revolutionary Guards descending from a helicopter to take control of the ship and detain its 23 crew members.
About two weeks earlier, British Royal Marines seized an Iranian supertanker off the coast of Gibraltar carrying 2.1m barrels of crude oil that UK authorities alleged was to be sold to Syria in breach of EU sanctions against Bashar al-Assad’s government. Iran has denied the Stena Impero’s impoundment was a tit-for-tat move.
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