Iran says seized British-flagged tanker 'free' to leave

Iran said Monday (September 23rd) that a British-flagged oil tanker is "free" to leave more than two months after it was seized in the Gulf, AFP reported.

"The legal process has finished and based on that the conditions for letting the oil tanker go free have been fulfilled and the oil tanker can move," government spokesman Ali Rabiei said.

He did not specify when the Swedish-owned vessel would be allowed to set sail.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) surrounded the Stena Impero with attack boats before rappelling onto the deck of the tanker in the Strait of Hormuz on July 19th.

The vessel has been impounded at Iran's Bandar Abbas port.

Stena Bulk, the company that owns the tanker, said on Sunday that it expected the vessel to be released soon, but expressed caution about the situation.

"We understand that the political decision has been taken to release the ship," Stena Bulk's chief executive Erik Hanell told Swedish television station SVT.

"We hope it will be able to leave in a few hours, but we do not want to take anything for granted. We want to make sure the ship sails out of Iranian territorial waters," he said.

Tensions in the Gulf have soared since May due to Iran's escalating campaign of unprofessional interactions that appear to be intended to provoke an international response.

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