The Supreme Court of Gibraltar will decide Thursday whether it allows the Iranian tanker boarded last month near the British territory to leave, while an agreement between London and Tehran seems possible.
The Grace 1, loaded with 2.1 million barrels of oil, was boarded on July 4 by the Gibraltar police and the British special forces, causing a diplomatic crisis between Tehran and London.
He was suspected of delivering oil to Syria in violation of an EU embargo.
Tehran disputes the allegations, asserts that the tanker was sailing in international waters and accuses the United Kingdom of "piracy", claiming from the beginning that the British let him leave.
On 19 July Iran blocked a British oil tanker, the Stena Impero, in the Strait of Ormuz on suspicion of "non-compliance with the international maritime code".
The Supreme Court of Gibraltar is scheduled to consider the case of Grace 1 from 10:30 am local time (08:30 GMT) on Thursday, and is expected to rule in the day.
She has so far extended the detention of the ship until Saturday, August 19th.
- "An eye for an eye" -
The statements of a senior official of the Iranian Port Authority, Jalil Eslami, fueled speculation about a possible agreement between Iranians and British.
"I hope that this problem will be solved in the near future," Eslami told IRNA on Tuesday, adding that the British had shown an interest in solving the problem and that documents had been released. have been exchanged.
The Gibraltar Government has neither confirmed nor denied these statements. "We continue to seek de-escalation in the issues raised since Grace 1's regular detention," a spokesman said.
For Sanam Vakil, a researcher at Chatham House Institute in London, Iran seized the British tanker as a "retaliation" for Grace 1.
"It's an eye for an eye, a dent for a tooth.If Grace 1 is released, and it would probably be the case if Iran engaged behind the scenes not to export this oil to Syria, then it is likely that the Stena Impero will also be released, "she told AFP.
Tehran believes that the British have seized Grace 1 at the request of US President Donald Trump, which they consider instigator of an "economic war against Iran in the long term to prevent Iran from to regain its market share in the oil sector, so Iran is also trying to defend its share, "analyzes Sanam Vakil.
The immobilization of the oil tanker and the resulting resurgence of diplomatic tension have clouded the efforts of the European states trying to save the nuclear deal with Iran, whose withdrawal from the United States last year heavy sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
The Gibraltar court must also rule on the fate of the four members of the tanker crew, briefly arrested after the boarding of the ship and placed on bail, without charge against them.
© 2019 AFP