[…] Given the surrounding political tensions that arose in respect of this matter, on the 19th July I met with Iranian officials in London in the spirit of seeking to de-escalate all aspects of the issues arising from the detention of Grace 1.
The meeting was both positive and constructive. I made clear that our detention of the vessel related exclusively to the implementation of sanctions against Syria.
In the weeks that followed, we have continued to have constructive discussions with representatives of the Republic of Iran to facilitate the release of Grace 1 pursuant to the satisfaction of all legal requirements. In that time, the owner of the cargo has been confirmed to be the National Iranian Oil Company and the vessel has been re-flagged under the flag of Iran itself and re-insured.
On 13 August, I received written assurance from the Republic of Iran that, if released, the destination of Grace 1 would not be an entity that is subject to European Union sanctions. I welcome that assurance. This is an important material change in the destination of the vessel and the beneficiary of its cargo.
Indeed, this assurance has the effect of ensuring that we have deprived the Assad regime in Syria of more than one hundred and forty million dollars of valuable crude oil. Subsequently, a direct request was made to me by the Islamic Republic of Iran on 5th August for the release of the Grace 1 under Sections 38 and 39 of our Sanctions Act.
In light of the assurances we have received, there are no longer any reasonable grounds for the continued legal detention of the Grace 1 in order to ensure compliance with the EU Sanctions Regulation.
With effect from today I have therefore revoked the Specification of the Vessel. Läs uttalandet