Sunday, 23 February, 2020

Iran: Oil Tanker Discharged Cargo Despite Pressures

SHIP The Adrian Darya-1 anchored off Syria SHIP The Adrian Darya-1 anchored off Syria
Deanna Wagner | 10 September, 2019, 18:27

Iran's foreign ministry spokesman on Sunday said an Iranian oil tanker at the center of a dispute between Tehran and Western powers had reached its destination and sold its oil, state television reported.

Since May, Iran has begun to breach caps on its nuclear capacity set by the deal in retaliation for US oil and trade sanctions.

A report by The Financial Times revealed Wednesday that four days before the US imposed sanctions on the tanker, the vessel's Indian captain received an unusual email from US Special Representative on Iran Brian Hook.

"However, such acts of sabotage can not have any impact on our measures and, as we said before, we will sell our oil and such measures will only cause trouble for those who take them", Mousavi said.

In July, Iran seized a British oil tanker near the Strait of Hormuz for alleged marine violations, two weeks after British forces detained an Iranian tanker near Gibraltar accused of taking 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".

According to Iran, the ship had violated local regulations.

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Earlier this week it was revealed that a United States official had even offered the captain of the ship millions of dollars to change course and sail the tanker to somewhere the USA might be able to seize it. After the captain gave no positive response, he and the ship were put under U.S. sanctions. Because of this, Kpler believes Iran has maintained "limited" flows of oil into China - Iran's most important customer - as well as Turkey and Syria. Stop nagging @SecPompeo: "We will sell oil to any & all buyers", Zarif said.

Iran's Revolutionary Guards impounded the vessel Stena Impero in the Strait of Hormuz in mid-July.

The ship, originally known as Grace 1 when it was detained in July off Gibraltar, a British territory, has been a further cause of tension between Washington and Tehran.

Kpler analyst Samah Ahmed believes Iran is employing a range of techniques to try to avoid detection, including "several ship-to-ship transfers off-radar" - a technique that is also famously used by North Korea.

Legal procedure concerning the British oil tanker is about over and "we hope it will be released in the near future", Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi was quoted as saying.

The official said, "We have no problem with the crew and captain of the ship".