Iranian tanker US is seeking to detain could leave Gibraltar Friday

Iranian tanker US is seeking to detain could leave Gibraltar Friday
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An Iranian oil tanker seized by British Royal Marines in Gibraltar last month could leave port Friday unless the Trump administration succeeds with a request to have it held there.

Reuters reported Friday that the vessel, which was seized on July 4 under suspicion of carrying oil to Syria, is set to leave port unless a U.S. request for the matter to be taken up by Gibraltar's highest court is approved.

The status of the Trump administration's request was unclear, and Gibraltar's First Minister Office declined to comment to the news service.


Gibraltar's officials had previously said that they had discovered evidence that the ship was carrying cargo to an oil refinery in Syria controlled by the Syrian government, which is internationally sanctioned, a charge that Iran's government has denied. U.S. officials are seeking the ship be held on the grounds that it is allegedly aiding Iran's Revolutionary Guard, which was designated as a terrorist group by the Trump administration.

“It could go back to the court absolutely," Gibraltar’s first minister, Fabian Picardo, reportedly said on BBC Radio.

However, he added, “She is able to leave as soon as she organizes the logistics necessary in order to sail a ship of that size."

In a statement, the State Department said that the crew members and others involved with the ship would be ineligible for U.S. visas under a policy concerning material aid to a terrorist group.

"The United States will continue to use all the tools at its disposal to deny Iran and its proxies the resources they need to engage in malign and destabilizing activities in Syria and elsewhere. This includes the full enforcement of U.S. sanctions with respect to Iran and the [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps]," said the State Department.