Iran said on Monday that a British-flagged oil tanker is “free” to leave more than two months after it was seized in the Gulf. “The legal process has finished and based on that the conditions for letting the oil tanker go free have been fulfilled and the oil tanker can move,” government spokesman Ali Rabiei said.
He did not specify when the Swedish-owned vessel would be allowed to set sail. Stena Bulk, the company that owns the tanker, said on Sunday that it expected the vessel to be released soon, but expressed caution about the situation.
"We understand that the political decision has been taken to release the ship," Stena Bulk’s chief executive Erik Hanell told Swedish television station SVT.
“We hope it will be able to leave in a few hours, but we don’t want to take anything for granted. We want to make sure the ship sails out of Iranian territorial waters,” he said.
Earlier, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday blamed the drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities. He said the U.K. would consider taking part in a U.S.-led military effort to bolster the Gulf kingdom’s defences. “The U.K. is attributing responsibility with a very high degree of probability to Iran” for the attack by drones and cruise missiles. We will be working with our American friends and our European friends to construct a response that tries to de-escalate tensions in the Gulf region,” Johnson said.
Johnson said he would meet Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at this week’s high-level U.N. gathering. Johnson is also due to hold talks with U.S. President Donald Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron.
Tehran, however, has denied responsibility for the attacks against the heart of Saudi's all-important oil industry, raising the spectre of "all-out war" in the event of retaliatory measures by Washington or Riyadh.
The attack had knocked out over half of Saudi Arabia's production as it cut 5.7 million barrels per day or over 5 per cent of the world's supply. Abqaiq and Khurais are main processing centres for Saudi Arabia's Arab Extra Light and Arab Light crude oil.