Iranian port authorities have said that the United Kingdom could release its oil tanker after exchanging some documents that would help secure its release.
The British Royal Marines last month stopped and seized the vessel off the coast of Gibraltar on suspicion of bringing Iranian crude oil to Syria in violation of the European Union sanctions against the government of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad .
"Britain is interested in releasing Iran's oil tanker Grace 1 … following the exchange of some documents, we expect the release to take place soon," Jalal Eslami, the deputy head of the Iran's Ports and Maritime Organization, was quoted as saying by an official IRNA news agency on Tuesday.
"The vessel was seized on the basis of false allegations … it has not been released."
But an old Gibraltar official, speaking on condition of anonymity, denied the report, calling it "not true, "according to The Associated Pr ess news agency. The Reuters news agency also quoted an unnamed leading source of the Gibraltarian government as saying the report was incorrect.
Earlier on Tuesday, Gibraltar said it sought to de-escalate issues arising with Iran from the detention of Grace 1.
"We continue to seek to de-escalate issues that has emerged since the legalization of Grace 1, ”a spokesman for Gibraltar said.
The current order of detention on the vessel expired on Saturday night, after which a court would decide its fate.
Excerpt from Gibraltar authorities, the semi-official FARS news agency said the ship would be released on Tuesday night.
Two weeks after the hijacking, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps of Iran acquired a UK-owned vessel, owned by Sweden, for breaking "international maritime" rules in the Strait of Hormuz.
Tanker traffic through the Strait – where one fifth of the world's oil passes – has been the focus of a standoff between Iran and the US, increasing its military presence in the Gulf since May.
Britain, which has repeatedly ruled out any exchanges and has since given UK flags to the region a naval escort, joined a US-led mission on the narrow lane on 5 August. to ensure sea traffic.
Al Jazeera and news agencies