Humiliating Defeat for United States after Iranian Oil Tanker Release

17 Août, 2019, 05:41 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Humiliating Defeat for United States after Iranian Oil Tanker Release

In a statement, the US State Department said the US had determined the ship was helping Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which Washington has designated as a terrorist organisation.

Iran said the tanker would sail shortly.

The tanker was seized by British Royal Marines at the western mouth of the Mediterranean on July 4 on suspicion of violating European Union sanctions by taking oil to Syria, a close ally of Iran.

But that prospect remained up in the air Friday, with a lawyer representing three Grace 1 crew members who were released from detention Thursday, casting doubt on the vessel's immediate departure.

Iran has made no commitments to gain the release of its tanker from detention in Gibraltar, an Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Friday.

Mousavi confirmed the Foreign Ministry's earlier statement that the oil tanker was not heading to Syria when it was detained off Gibraltar's coast by United Kingdom marines on 4 July.

Tehran and Washington have been at loggerheads since Trump withdrew from a landmark 2015 nuclear deal between major powers and Iran past year and reimposed crippling unilateral sanctions.

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The U.S. government said Friday it had obtained a warrant to seize the tanker, citing violations of U.S. sanctions, as well as money laundering and terrorism statutes.

But according to an AFP source, the ship was awaiting the arrival of a new Iranian crew before it would leave Gibraltar.

The warrant for the seizure of the tanker, which carries 2.1 million barrels of oil, was issued by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and addressed to "the United States Marshal's Service and/or any other duly authorized law enforcement officer".

Gibraltar lifted the tanker's detention order on Thursday but the vessel's fate was further complicated by a last-ditch US legal appeal to hold it.

The complaint alleges that people associated with the ship provided fraudulent shipping documents, had obtained oil and departed from an Iraqi shipping port.

He also said that Iran will continue to support Syria in all fields including energy and oil.

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