Following the release of an Iranian oil tanker seized by Britain last month, the United States on Friday resorted to sanctions.
The US Treasury Department on Friday blacklisted the Iranian oil tanker Adrian Darya, which is at the center of a confrontation between Washington and Tehran, and sanctioned its captain.
Treasury Undersecretary Sigal Mandelker said in a statement that anyone providing support to the Adrian Darya 1 risks being sanctioned.
Earlier, the United States had threatened to aggressively enforce its sanctions on those potentially assisting the return of the Iranian-operated supertanker.
"The shipping sector is on notice that we will aggressively enforce US sanctions," a State Department official told Reuters on August 26 days after warning countries not to allow the tanker to dock which was traveling through the Mediterranean and that Washington wants seized.
The ship, formerly called Grace 1, was detained by Britain off Gibraltar on July 4 due to British suspicion it was carrying Iranian oil to Syria in violation of European Union sanctions.
Tehran, however, rejected London’s claim about the tanker’s destination and slammed the seizure as “piracy.”
Despite pressure from the US for the vessel’s continued detainment, the tanker was released in mid-August. Britain claimed that Iran gave assurances its cargo was not headed to Syria. However, Tehran denied that any assurances were given to Gibraltar to secure the ship's release.
Soon after Gibraltar’s announcement, the US Department of Justice unveiled a warrant for the seizure of the ship. Gibraltar, however, knocked back the request.
On Saturday, a senior Iranian military commander vowed that Iran would retaliate if any of its vessels was stopped in international waters.
“Piracy against Iran can’t be easily overlooked. It is natural for us to act when Iranian ships are stopped in any part of the world’s waters. Iran’s Armed Forces will certainly retaliate,” Brigadier General Kiumars Heidari, the head of Iran’s regular ground forces, told Fars News Agency.
The Iranian government spokesman said on Monday Iran has sold the oil from the tanker released by Gibraltar.
Reuters, Press TV contributed to this story.