US warns Mediterranean ports against aiding Iranian regime's tanker

Orient Net 2019-08-20 07:41:00

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The United States has issued a warning to Greece as well as to all ports in the Mediterranean Sea about providing assistance to an Iranian tanker that Washington suspects of transporting oil to Syria and having ties to a sanctioned organization, Reuters reported, citing a US State Department official.

Any aid would be interpreted as providing material support to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), which Washington considers a foreign terrorist organization. Facilitating the tanker carries potential immigration and criminal consequences, the unidentified US State Department official said on August 19.

The warning concerns the Adrian Darya 1, formerly known as Grace 1, a supertanker that left Gibraltar on August 19 after spending 45 days in detention over British suspicions that it was violating European Union sanctions on Syria.

Officials in Gibraltar on August 18 rejected a US request to seize the tanker, letting it sail with $130 million worth of crude oil.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the tanker's release was "unfortunate" in an August 19 interview on Fox News Channel.

If Iran turns a profit from the tanker's load, the IRGC will have "more money, more wealth, more resources to continue their terror campaign," Pompeo said.

Online vessel-tracking sites like Refinitiv show the vessel is heading toward Kalamata, Greece, and is scheduled to arrive on August 25.

Based on Radio Free Europe Radio Liberity