Tehran: An Indian oil tanker seized by Iran in August for allegedly polluting Gulf waters has been allowed to leave the port where it was held, an Iranian official said on Thursday.
The Indian government-owned MT Desh Shanti was on its way back to India with a load of Iraqi crude when the Iranian Navy stopped it last month for allegedly polluting the waters.
"The boat that was seized following a contamination has been freed after the Indian sailing organisation presented the necessary guarantees," said the head of the Iranian ports administration, Attahollah Sadr, quoted by Fars news agency.
The official did not give any details on the guarantees given by Delhi, but the IRNA news agency said India paid a fine to allow the oil tanker to resume its voyage on Thursday.
Iranian authorities said the tanker had polluted its territorial waters and seized the vessel on August 12, ordering it to return to the port of Bandar-Abbas.
India, the world`s fourth largest importer of petrol, has significantly reduced the amount of Iranian crude it buys because of US and European sanctions against Iran`s oil industry over its contested nuclear programme.
The International Energy Agency said in August that India, which had been importing an average of 200,000 barrels of Iranian crude per day, had apparently ceased imports in July.
Local media reports in India have suggested Iran may have detained the ship out of "displeasure" because it was carrying crude from rival Iraq.
But the Iranian embassy in New Delhi sought to downplay the incident, calling it "purely a technical and non-political issue".