President Rouhani of Iran presides over the tanker crisisPresident Rouhani of Iran presides over the tanker crisis (Israel Britain Alliance)

In a twist on the Iran tanker crisis, human rights lawyers want Britain to sell the tanker seized by Royal Marines on 4 July to pay millions of dollars owed to terror victims.

Yet the British government and media have been “scandalously” silent, according to a British activist, who has launched a petition to back the case.

In October 2014, an Iranian funded Hamas operative drove a car into pedestrians in Jerusalem, killing three-month-old Chaya Zissel Braun and a young woman and injuring several others, including the baby girl’s father. Hamas hailed the terrorist, Palestinian Abdelrahman Shaludi, as one of its “hero-martyrs”.

The Israel Legal Centre, Shurat HaDin, won a $178.5 million US court judgement against Iran and Syria for the death of the infant, a US citizen, but the money was never paid. Now lawyers have petitioned Gibraltar’s top court to sell the impounded Grace 1 to pay the debt, although the 2.1 million barrels of oil as well as the ship itself would not meet the damages awarded.

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, founder of Shurat HaDin, commented, “The capture of the Grace 1 tanker… is a rare opportunity for victims to seize Iranian assets, and for European governments to show that they are unforgiving in the battle against terrorism.”

Michael McCann, CEO of the Israel Britain Alliance, said, “Britain – scandalously – is saying nothing.”

He has started a campaign asking the Foreign Secretary to support this court action.

However, the action has been further complicated by Iran’s seizure of a British flagged tanker in the Strait of Hormuz on 19 July.

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