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Gibraltar says no immediate plan to release Iranian tanker

A view of the Grace 1 super tanker in the British territory of Gibraltar, Thursday, July 4, 2019. The tanker stopped off Gibraltar and was suspected of taking oil to Syria.

MARCOS MORENO/AP

By BARRY HATTON | Associated Press | Published: August 13, 2019

MADRID — A senior official in Gibraltar is denying reports that an Iranian tanker seized near the British overseas territory is poised to be released.

The official said a report by Iran's semi-official Fars news agency that the Grace 1 tanker is leaving Tuesday night are "untrue."

He spoke on condition of anonymity in line with government rules.

The tanker was seized last month in a British Royal Navy operation off Gibraltar, on the tip of southern Spain. It is suspected of violating European Union sanctions on oil shipments to Syria, and its seizure deepened international tensions in the Persian Gulf.

The Gibraltar government says it is seeking to "deescalate" the situation over the Grace 1.

The Gibraltar Supreme Court is scheduled to hold a hearing on the case on Thursday.

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