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Iranian president hints at tanker trade to deescalate Hormuz crisis

Iran’s president yesterday hinted he’d be up for a tanker trade with the UK in order to deescalate the tense situation around the Strait of Hormuz.

“We do not seek the continuation of tension with some European countries,” Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday during a weekly cabinet meeting. “If Britain steps away from the wrong actions in Gibraltar, they will receive an appropriate response from Iran.”

British armed forces captured the Grace 1 VLCC off Gibraltar earlier this month, with Iran responding last Friday by capturing the UK-flagged Stena Impero product tanker.

Iraq’s prime minister, Adil Abdul-Mahdi, met Rouhani in Tehran this week partly at the request of the UK defence secretary to negotiate the release of the Stena Impero and its 23 crew.

Britain has offered to release Grace 1 as long as Iran provides guarantees that the ship will not continue with a plan to unload Iran’s oil at the Syrian port of Baniyas refinery where EU sanctions are in place.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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