UK Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt has announced that Britain is ready to facilitate the release of the detained Iranian tanker Grace 1 on the condition that it does not go to Syria clarifying that Britain's concern was the destination, not the origin of the tanker.
1/2 Just spoke to Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif. Constructive call. I reassured him our concern was destination not origin of the oil on Grace One &that UK would facilitate release if we received guarantees that it would not be going to Syria, following due process in Gib courts— Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt) July 13, 2019
He also said that Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said Iran told him Iran wants to resolve the issue and not escalate it. Hunt also appreciated the Chief Minister of Gibraltar, Fabian Picardo for his efforts.
2/2 Was told by FM Zarif that Iran wants to resolve issue and is not seeking to escalate. Also spoke to @FabianPicardo who is doing an excellent job co-ordinating issue and shares UK perspective on the way forward.— Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt) July 13, 2019
The announcement has come as a sign of relief as there were doubts yesterday that the crisis may escalate after Britain announced it will be sending a second warship, HMS Duncan to the Gulf waters. Later the same day a senior Iranian cleric, Kazem Sedighi, reportedly said Britain will be "slapped in the face" for capturing Iranian tanker, calling on Britain to immediately release the oil tanker.
The tensions between the two countries started escalating last week when the UK marine officials detained Ithe Iranian oil tanker in Gibraltar. The tanker, Grace 1, was reportedly carrying Iranian crude to the Baniyas Refinery in Syria supposedly breaching the European Union sanctions.