News ID: 257850
Published: 0205 GMT August 26, 2019

Iran says oil aboard tanker released by Gibraltar sold

Iran says oil aboard tanker released by Gibraltar sold

Iran has sold the oil from a tanker released by Gibraltar after weeks in the custody of British Royal Marines and the vessel's owner will decide on its next destination, Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei said on Monday.

The announcement represented the latest twist in the saga of the Adrian Darya 1, which had been known as the Grace 1 when authorities seized the vessel off Gibraltar on July 4, on suspicion of breaking European Union sanctions targeting Syria.

After Gibraltar freed the Adrian Darya tanker on Aug. 18, the United States said it would take every action it could to prevent it from delivering oil to.

Iran had said the supertanker with 2.1 million barrels of crude aboard was not destined to Syria. 

Speaking to journalists Monday in Tehran, Rabiei declined to name the oil's buyer, nor terms for the sale. At market rates, the crude oil aboard the Adrian Darya would be worth about $130 million. However, anyone buying it likely would be targeted by US financial sanctions.

"The buyer of the oil decides where its destination is," Rabiei said, adding that the world is "witnessing the wrong policy by the US in monitoring and intervention in others' internal affairs."

The Adrian Darya initially put its intended destination as Kalamata, Greece, and later as Mersin, Turkey. The US State Department has pressured nations not to aid the vessel.

Refinitiv Eikon shipping data showed on Monday that the tanker, which has been at the heart of a standoff between Washington and Tehran, is no longer recorded as heading for Turkey, its indicated destination at the weekend.

The ship continued its voyage in the Mediterranean Sea on Monday.

The Adrian Darya's detention and later release by Gibraltar have added fuel to the growing tensions between Washington and Tehran, after US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew America from Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers over a year ago over concerns about Iran's ballistic missile program and regional influence.

The US reimposed tough sanctions on Iran economy and escalated sanctions largely blocking Tehran from selling crude abroad, a crucial source of hard currency for the Islamic Republic.

In US federal court documents, authorities allege the Adrian Darya's true owner is Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps.

The US declared the IRGC a foreign terrorist organization in April, the first time America named a military force of a nation as such, giving it the legal power to issue a warrant for the vessel's seizure. However, that would require another nation to acknowledge the writ.

AP and Reuters contributed to this story.


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