US, Iran Each Demand Release of Oil Tankers

Gibraltar reports 'positive' meeting over Grace 1 tanker

With two oil tankers now in custody of other nations, very public demands are being issued for their immediate, unconditional release, and in one case, negotiations are reportedly underway.

The first tanker, the Iranian Grace 1, is being held by Gibraltar. The tanker was captured by British troops and accused of trying to sell oil to Syria. Officials from Gibraltar say there have been “positive” talks on it, though previously they’ve suggested that the release of Grace 1 was contingent on Iran swearing Syria would never get any oil in the future.

There are a lot fewer details over the other tanker yet, which Iran seized Sunday over smuggling fuel. No talks appear to be happening yet, though the US State Department has issued a statement demanding Iran both unconditionally release the ship and crew and cease all illicit activity on top of that.

While the capture of the Grace 1 was based on Britain still technically being in the EU and the EU not wanting Syria to have any oil, the move against the MT Riah still has a lot of questions, with Iran’s Foreign Ministry previously denying it happened, and still not having explained the confusion since then.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of