'UK likely to release seized Iranian tanker soon'

Iran says Britain might release seized Grace 1 oil tanker soon

A spokesperson for the U.K. Foreign Office said that the "ongoing investigation" into the Grace 1 was a matter for Gibraltar authorities.

Britain has said that investigations into an Iranian oil tanker its forces captured near Gibraltar was a matter for the government of the British overseas territory to deal with, after an Iranian news agency reported that the vessel would be released on August 13.

Earlier reports in Iranian media suggested that the Iranian oil tanker-detained by Gibraltar because it had "reasonable grounds" to believe that the Iranian ship Grace 1 was violating European Union sanctions against Syria-could be released as soon as on Tuesday evening.

"I've seen that report, but we don't have any information", the representative added, commenting on the information provided by Fars.

In retaliation, Iran seized the British-flagged Stena Impero tanker in the Strait of Hormuz on July 19 for alleged maritime violations.

Iran has seized three tankers in strategic Gulf waters since last month, including a British-flagged vessel.

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Tensions have Iran and the West have been rising since the Trump administration reimposed sanctions on Iran following its abandonment of the nuclear deal.

Gibraltar's Supreme Court is scheduled to hold its next hearing on the vessel on Thursday, according to the official Gibraltar news service in Spain.

Islami described the seizure of the ship as "for bias and without any real reason" and said efforts were being made by the government and port authorities to release the ship.

Referring to the US' anti-Iran maritime initiative in the Persian Gulf, Eslami said that in Iran's view the coalition is a self-defeating once since no country except the Zionist regime has joined it.

Iran called the seizure of the ship "piracy" and warned it would not let the interception go unanswered.

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