Gibraltar police arrest captain, officer of detained Iran tanker Grace 1

A British Royal Navy ship (back R) patrols near supertanker Grace 1 suspected of carrying crude oil to Syria in violation of EU sanctions after it was detained off the coast of Gibraltar on July 4, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 12 July 2019

Gibraltar police arrest captain, officer of detained Iran tanker Grace 1

  •  Gibraltar police have arrested the Indian captain and chief officer of a seized Iranian tanker suspected of breaching EU sanctions by shipping oil to Syria
  • The two men, both Indian nationals, were arrested on Thursday afternoon but neither have been charged

GIBRALTAR: Gibraltar police have arrested the Indian captain and chief officer of a seized Iranian tanker suspected of breaching EU sanctions by shipping oil to Syria, Royal Gibraltar Police said Thursday.
"This follows a protracted search of the vessel where documents and electronic devices have been seized and examined," police said in a statement.
Gibraltar police are interviewing both men, who have "been accorded their legal entitlements and access to consular representation," it added.
Gibraltar forces and British marines boarded the ship, Grace 1, and seized it on July 4 off the coast of Gibraltar, saying they believed it to be destined for Syria to deliver oil, which is subject to European sanctions.
Tests have shown the 330 metre (1,000 feet) tanker which is capable of carrying two million barrels of oil, was "carrying a full load of crude oil", the government of Gibraltar said Monday.
Iran has condemned the detention as an "illegal interception" and said the tanker was not headed to Syria.
The arrests come after London said earlier on Thursday that armed Iranian boats tried to "impede" a UK supertanker in the Gulf before being warned off by a British warship.
Iran's Revolutionary Guards denied involvement but also cautioned both the United States and Britain that they would "strongly regret" the UK Royal Marines' detention of the Grace 1.
Gibraltar police said the investigation was still on-going and the tanker remained detained.


Iranian wedding party fueled new COVID-19 surge, President Rouhani says

Updated 06 June 2020

Iranian wedding party fueled new COVID-19 surge, President Rouhani says

  • New cases dipped to 2,886 on Friday, bringing Iran’s total cases to more than 167,000, with over 8,000 deaths
  • Health officials have been warning of a second wave of the outbreak, but say a reason for the surge in new cases could be wider testing

DUBAI: A wedding party contributed to a new surge in coronavirus infections in Iran, President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday but insisted the country had no option but to keep its economy open despite warnings of a second wave of the epidemic.
Iran, which has been gradually relaxing its lockdown since mid-April, has reported a sharp rise of new daily infections in recent days. Thursday’s toll of 3,574 new cases was the highest since February, when the outbreak was first reported.
“At one location, we witnessed a peak in this epidemic, the source of which was a wedding that caused problems for the people, health workers and losses to the economy and the country’s health system,” Rouhani said on state TV. He did not say when or where the wedding took place.
New cases dipped to 2,886 on Friday, bringing Iran’s total cases to more than 167,000, with over 8,000 deaths.
Health officials have been warning of a second wave of the outbreak, but say a reason for the surge in new cases could be wider testing. One official said about 70% of the new cases in Tehran were among those who had traveled outside the capital in recent days.
Iran has been struggling to curb the spread of COVID-19 but authorities are concerned that measures to limit public and economic life to contain the virus could wreck an already economy already reeling under international sanctions.
“In these circumstances, we have no other choice — that is, there is no second option,” Rouhani added. “We have to work, our factories have to be active, our shops have to be open, and there has to be movement in the country as far as it is necessary.”
Iranian universities reopened on Saturday after being closed for more than three and a half months, state media reported. Nurseries will reopen in a week’s time, when Qur'an and languages classes will also resume, Rouhani said.