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Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Gibraltar chief meets Iran’s foreign minister in bid to defuse tanker row

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The head of Gibraltar’s government has met privately with Iran’s foreign minister in a bid to defuse tensions surrounding the seizure of an Iranian supertanker near the British overseas territory.

Chief Minister Fabian Picardo told parliament on Friday that the meeting with Mohammad Javad Zarif earlier this week “was both constructive and positive”.

Mr Picardo said he wants to “de-escalate” the situation after the interception of the Panama-flagged tanker off the southern tip of Spain on July 4.

The tanker is suspected of carrying Iranian oil to Syria in breach of European Union sanctions on Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government, and its seizure stoked international tensions over the Persian Gulf.

Mr Picardo said he met Mr Zarif at the Foreign Office in London on Wednesday. He said he told Mr Zarif that due process of law must be followed and that the case is before Gibraltar’s Supreme Court.

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