Tehran, July 5: Iran has condemned interception of one of its oil tankers in Gibraltar where authorities said they suspected it was carrying crude to Syria in violation of EU sanctions. The detention of the 330 meter Grace 1 vessel comes at a sensitive time in Iran-EU ties as the bloc mulls how to respond to Tehran announcing it will breach the maximum uranium enrichment level it agreed to in a 2015 nuclear deal.
Iran summoned the British ambassador in protest. US National Security Advisor John Bolton welcomed the interception of the supertanker as excellent news.
The tanker detention comes just days after Iran announced it would exceed the uranium enrichment limit set up as part of the 2015 deal to avoid it building up to the level required for a nuclear warhead.
Iran did this in response to Washington abandoning the nuclear deal last year and hitting Iran's crucial oil exports and financial transactions with biting sanctions.
British Royal Marines, police and customs agents on Thursday stopped and seized the Grace 1 vessel on suspicion it carried Iranian crude oil to Syria in breach of European Union sanctions against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The 28-member crew, who have remained on board the supertanker, were mainly Indians with some Pakistanis and Ukrainians.