Iran denies giving Gibraltar assurances for release of tanker
Iranian officials on Friday denied that any assurances were given to Gibraltar to release an Iranian tanker now sailing on into the Mediterranean, calling it a "victory" for Tehran. The ship's seizure, with the help of British Royal Marines, had triggered a sharp deterioration in relations between Tehran and London and what Britain saw as the tit-for-tat detention by Iran of the British-flagged tanker Stena Impero.
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Greece will not provide assistance in delivering oil to Syria to an Iranian tanker now sailing eastward through the Mediterranean, Deputy Foreign Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis said on Wednesday.
"We have sent a clear message that we would not want to facilitate the trafficking of this oil to Syria in any instance," Varvitsiotis told Greece's ANT1 television.
The Adrian Darya 1, which was released after being detained in Gibraltar, is carrying 2 million barrels of crude.
U.S. warrant issued for seizure of Iranian oil tanker in Gibraltar
A U.S. court has issued a warrant for the seizure of an Iranian tanker that British Royal Marines had seized last month in Gibraltar, a court document showed on Friday. The oil tanker Grace 1, the more than 2 million barrels of oil it carries and $995,000 are subject to forfeiture based on a complaint by the U.S. government, U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Jessie Liu said in a news release.
It is now sailing east with trackers giving its stated destination as the Greek port of Kalamata, with an expected arrival date of Aug. 26.
It has urged Greece to refrain from any assistance, while a Cypriot diplomatic source said a similar message had also been conveyed to Cyprus.
Iran's semi-official ILNA news agency said on Wednesday the Adrian Darya 1 was currently leased to an Iranian shipping line.
Iran warns US against recapturing oil tanker as it leaves Gibraltar
An Iranian oil tanker detained off Gibraltar last month left the British territory and was headed through the Mediterranean towards Greece on Monday. Tehran warned any attempt by the US to seize the Adrian Darya 1 again would be met with "heavy consequences". The vessel, previously known as the Grace 1, set off at around 11pm local time on Sunday, Refinitiv shipping data showed. The tanker slowly steered southeast toward a narrow stretch of international waters separating Morocco and the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula.
Varvitsiotis said Greece did not have the port facilities to accommodate such a large ship, but did not discount the possibility that it could drop anchor in Greek territorial waters:
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