Iran gives final green light for British-flagged tanker to leave

British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero, seized by Iran more than two months ago, was on Wednesday (September 25th) given the final clearance to leave, AFP reported.

Foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said "the lifting of the seizure of the vessel Stena Impero was finalised today" after a procedure co-ordinated by the foreign ministry, Iran's judiciary and its port and maritime authorities.

But a legal case "remains open", he said. "The captain and the owners have signed a written commitment to accept the verdict" handed down at the end of proceedings.

On Monday, government spokesman Ali Rabiei had announced that "the legal process has finished" and the Swedish-owned vessel was free to leave.

But Erick Hanell, CEO of the owners Stena Bulk, denied Tuesday that the tanker had left Iran and said it was still waiting for authorisation.

"Despite public statements by Iranian authorities over the past three days that judicial proceedings have concluded, and the Stena Impero is free to leave Iran, the vessel remains detained at anchor in Bandar Abbas," Hanell said Tuesday.

Earlier the same day, specialist shipping website TankerTrackers reported the Stena Impero had set sail.

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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