- The Adrian Darya 1 was "blacklisted" Friday by the United States.
- Washington says Iran still wants to sell the ship’s oil to Syria to fund what it describes as “malicious activities and propagating terrorism.”
- Iran says the United States is heading for a confrontation with “serious consequences.”
Almost two weeks after the Iranian oil tanker, Grace 1, was released from Gibraltar, the huge ship has yet to dock. It is still sailing around in the Mediterranean Sea waters, without a clear final destination. The USA nonetheless insists that it is convinced that the ship’s final destination is none other than Syria. Seemingly, Iran is keen on selling the oil on board, but the US is trying to prevent that. The ship is part of escalating geopolitical jousting between Tehran and Washington.
Since Friday, the ship has been ‘blacklisted’ by the United States. The USA has issued a stern warning that any country offering assistance to the tanker risks being slammed with sanctions. The ship had initially been seized and detained by the British Royal Marines in Gibraltar, a British overseas territory, but was released about two weeks ago by the British against Washington’s will. The release was based on the condition that it would not sail to Syria. The tanker was renamed Adrian Darya 1 immediately after the release from Gibraltar.
Washington says Iran still wants to sell the ship’s oil to Syria to fund what it describes as “malicious activities and propagating terrorism.” Iran denies that and says the United States is heading for a confrontation with “serious consequences.”
The gigantic tanker is currently off the coast of Turkey. It was originally on its way to a port in Greece but changed its course to a Turkish port near Syria.
“An Iranian tanker released after being detained for six weeks by the British overseas territory of Gibraltar is now headed for Lebanon,” Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Friday. However, Lebanon’s energy minister said the country had not received any docking request from the Iranian ship, which is carrying crude oil worth some $120 million, and whose seizure had been requested by the United States.
Washington later said the tanker is en route to Syria. There is the suspicion that the cargo from the oil tanker will be transferred there to other, smaller ships. Sources have disclosed as much to the American business newspaper, The Wall Street Journal..
Since the Syrian Civil War arose, the European Union has imposed economic sanctions against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. That is why the British were compelled to detain the tanker. It was nonetheless released after five weeks of rising tensions between Iran and the British on condition that the Iranians would not take the crude oil to Syria.