Pompeo: We Will Act If Iranian Tanker Tries to Deliver Oil to Syria

Wednesday, 21 August, 2019 - 12:30
Asharq Al-Awsat

The United States will take every action it can to prevent an Iranian tanker sailing in the Mediterranean from delivering oil to Syria in contravention of US sanctions, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned on Tuesday.

Greece said earlier in the day that it had not had a request from the Adrian Darya 1, the vessel at the centre of a dispute between Tehran and the Washington, to dock at one of its ports, as US warned Greece against helping the vessel.

The tanker, formerly called Grace 1, left Gibraltar on Sunday, Reuters reported.

Ship-tracking data on Tuesday showed the vessel was heading toward the Greek port of Kalamata on the southern coast of the Peloponnese and was scheduled to arrive next Monday.

"We have made clear that anyone who touches it, anyone who supports it, anyone who allows a ship to dock is at risk of receiving sanctions from the United States," Pompeo told reporters at the United Nations.

"If that ship again heads to Syria, we will take every action we can consistent with those sanctions to prevent that."

He said that if the tanker's oil was sold, the revenue would be used by elite units of Iran's Revolutionary Guards.

"We want to deny them the resources to continue their horrific terror campaign," Pompeo noted.

"The vessel is cruising at low speed and there is still no formal announcement that it will arrive at Kalamata. The Merchant Marine Ministry is monitoring the matter along with Greece's Foreign Ministry," a Greek Shipping Ministry spokesman said.

The ship, which is now sailing under an Iranian flag, was released from detention off Gibraltar after a five-week standoff over whether it was carrying Iranian oil to Syria in violation of European Union sanctions.

According to Reuters, soon after the detention order was lifted, a US federal court ordered the seizure of the vessel on different grounds, but that petition was rejected by Gibraltar.

for its part, Tehran warned that any US move to seize the vessel again would have "heavy consequences".

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