Iran Says Seized U.K. Tanker Is 'Free to Leave'

Legal work and administrative procedures for the release of the English tanker have been completed, Iranian government spokesman says, but time of release remains unknown

A speedboat of the Iran's Revolutionary Guard moves around a British-flagged oil tanker, the Stena Impero, July 21, 2019
Hasan Shirvani,AP

The British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero, which Iran seized in the Strait of Hormuz in mid-July, is free to leave, Iranian authorities said Monday.

"As already reported, legal investigations have concluded and the ship's violations have been forgiven," government spokesman Ali Rabiei said, according to Iran's Fars news agency. 

He did not say if the ship had left port.

Earlier on Monday, an Iranian government spokesman said all legal steps had been completed for the Stena Impero's release but that he did not know the timing of the release, the semi-official news agency ILNA reported.

"The legal work and administrative procedures for the release of the English tanker have been completed but I have no information on the time of the release," said government spokesman Ali Rabiei, according to ILNA.

The semi-official Fars news agency Fars quoted Rabiei as saying: "The legal work of the oil tanker is over ... and the oil tanker can move and the decisions indicate the end of the detention." He did not elaborate.