Court holds hearing on seized Iranian tanker as US nears coalition for Gulf patrols

The Supreme Court of the British territory of Gibraltar will hold a hearing today on the Iranian-owned Grace 1 oil

grace 1 gibraltar hearing

Photo: Jorge Guerrero/AFP/Getty

The Supreme Court of the British territory of Gibraltar will hold a hearing today on the Iranian-owned Grace 1 oil tanker, which British forces seized on allegations of transporting crude oil to Syria.

Tehran claims the seizure of the Grace 1 was unlawful due to the fact that Iranian companies are not subject to EU sanctions and thus didn’t violate EU sanction laws against Syria.

While Gibraltar is expected to free the seized tanker – and British officials have expressed a desire to deescalate tensions with Iran – the incident is likely to pave the way for Britain to join US-led naval patrols of the Strait of Hormuz.

Known as Operation Sentinel, Washington claims the naval patrols will guarantee freedom of navigation in the Strait of Hormuz – arguably the world’s most important waterway.

Sentinel would likely exhibit a coalition of countries that rely on the Strait of Hormuz for oil. However, some EU nations, like Germany, have criticized this “stick” approach to Iran and fear that it could potentially escalate conflict and pressure regime change.

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