A senior Iranian lawyer said that legally speaking Iran has the right to adopt reciprocal action against the seizure of oil tanker by the UK forces.
“If the United Nations neglect the issue or UK doesn’t abide by UN’s request [on freeing the tanker], we can adopt reciprocal measure according to Articles 49-53 of ‘Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts’,” Elham Aminzadeh, former Iranian Vice-President for Legal Affairs, told Mehr News Agency on Monday.
On early Thursday morning, British Royal Marines in Gibraltar stormed the Iran-operated 300,000-tonne Grace 1 and detained it, accusing it of carrying oil to Syria in possible violation of the European Union’s sanctions on the Arab country. Iran has condemned the move as “maritime piracy” and summoned Britain’s ambassador in protest over it. On Friday, Secretary of Iran’s Expediency Council Mohsen Rezaei called for the reciprocal seizure of a British oil tanker in case London refuses to release the vessel.
Countries of origin and countries of destination regarding the oil tanker could benefit from revenues but with the UK’s measure, these nations suffered losses, she said, adding that the seizure is a “violation of human rights.”
UK’s measure completely opposes international law and Iran can file a complaint with international courts, Aminzadeh stressed, noting that even other beneficiaries of the shipment can lodge complaints.
According to the Article 30 of the UN-endorsed ‘Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts’, UK should immediately stop its illegal measure and free the oil tanker, she said, adding, articles 36 and 37 of the same acts urges London to compensate the damages and issue an official apology to Tehran.
Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said on Sunday that “despite claims of the British government, the target and destination of this tanker was not Syria. The port that they have named in Syria essentially does not have the capacity for such a supertanker. The target was somewhere else. It was passing through international waters through the Strait of Gibraltar and there is no law that allows Britain to stop this tanker. In our view, the stopping of this ship was maritime robbery and we want this tanker to be freed.”
Minister of Defense Brigadier General Amir Hatami said on Monday described UK measure as ‘provocative’, adding that Iran “will not put up with Britain’s maritime piracy regarding the seizure of an Iran-operated oil tanker off the coast of Gibraltar.”
Meanwhile, FM Zarif questioned the legalities of the UK seizure of an Iran-operated oil tanker, saying Iran is not subject to any European oil embargo and EU is against extraterritoriality.