Iran's Defense Minister Says Britain's Seizure of Oil Tanker Was Threatening Act

Oil tanker seized off Gibraltar not destined for Syria, says Iran

Oil tanker seized off Gibraltar not destined for Syria, says Iran

However, Gibraltar says it had reasonable grounds to feel the Grace 1 ship was carrying crude oil to the Baniyas refinery in Syria.

Iran's Foreign Ministry maintains that the oil tanker was not bound for Syria and its seizure has taken place at the behest of the US.

"This move is against global regulations and a kind of maritime piracy", he said during a ceremony at Bandar Abbas port in southern Iran.

But even if Baniyas was actually the tanker's final destination, it brings up additional legal questions regarding the seizure.

The Grace 1 tanker was impounded in the British territory on the southern tip of Spain after sailing around Africa, the long route from the Middle East to the mouth of the Mediterranean.

While the European Union has banned oil shipments to Syria since 2011, it had never seized a tanker at sea.

"Based on all the imagery we spent weeks reviewing, we could not see her loading crude oil". We believe she was due to do the same in Syria's waters.

BP's decision shows how rising tensions between Iran and the west are having an impact on the oil tanker industry that's vital to the global trade in crude.

Russian Federation is also a party to the JCPOA and its ambassador to worldwide organisations in Vienna, Mikhail Ulyanov, said in a tweet Friday that an IAEA board of governors' meeting was "not a proper place to consider" what he called "Iranian deviations from (the) JCPOA". "Fuel oil is a refined product and will not contain chemical signatures that can trace it back to Iran". Iran denies the vessel was headed to Syria, where the regime of Bashar Assad is an ally of Tehran.

In recent weeks, the wider Persian Gulf has seen Iran shoot down a United States military surveillance drone, mysterious attacks on oil tankers, and Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen launching bomb-laden drones into Saudi Arabia.