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Hook proceeded to offer the ship ’s captain several million dollars , if he agreed to steer the vessel to a port where the U.S. could seize it. "Having failed at piracy, the US resorts to outright blackmail—deliver us Iran ’s oil and receive several million dollars or be sanctioned yourself," Zarif
The Trump administration reportedly offered "several million dollars " to the captain of an Iranian oil tanker that's been at the center of diplomatic disputes “We have conducted extensive outreach to several ship captains as well as shipping companies warning them of the consequences of
WASHINGTON – The Trump administration has used diplomatic pressure, legal action, economic sanctions – and even cold, hard cash – to try to get its hands on a hulking Iranian oil tanker that has been spinning its way around Africa and the Middle East for months. © Provided by USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, Inc.
The extraordinary effort to seize the vessel has come to naught – so far. Even a curious State Department offer to make the ship’s captain a multi-millionaire fell flat.
But the cat-and-mouse game between Iran and the Trump administration over the vessel – called the Adrian Darya 1 and laden with 2.1 million barrels of oil – is emblematic of an increasingly confrontational relationship. And like the fate of the supertanker and its crew, the outcome of the U.S.-Iran tensions remains unclear.
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A senior US official personally offered several million dollars to the Indian captain of an Iranian oil tanker suspected of heading to Syria, the State Department chief spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus hit back using Zarif's exact words, accusing Iran of "outright blackmail" with its call for billion from
on an Iranian tanker suspected of shipping oil to Syria, the vessel’s Indian captain received an unusual email from the top Iran official at the The “good news” was that the Trump administration was offering Mr Kumar several million dollars to pilot the ship — until recently known as the Grace
The Trump administration’s efforts to capture the Adrian Darya is a small part of its “maximum pressure” campaign – aimed at reducing Iran’s oil exports to zero, strangling its economy, and forcing its leaders into negotiations with President Donald Trump. Trump withdrew the U.S. from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and other world powers, saying it did not do enough to curb the Islamic Republic's ballistic missile program and support for terrorism.
Experts say Iran’s ability to keep the Darya out of the U.S. government’s long reach illustrates the shortfalls of the U.S. strategy. And it comes as Iran leaders once again rejected negotiations with Washington, saying Trump must lift U.S. sanctions first.
On Saturday, Iran further reduced its compliance with the nuclear deal, saying it has begun injecting uranium gas into advanced centrifuges and that the country will no longer abide by the deal's limits on its nuclear research and development.
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A U.S. official offered several million dollars to the captain of an Iranian oil tanker reportedly heading to Syria. The State Department confirmed to The Hill that Brian Hook, head of the Iran Action Group, emailed the captain of the Adrian Darya 1 about sailing the tanker out of its course so
The Trump administration claims that the Iranian regime has been leveraging the Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC, to hide and sell hundreds of Hook made the announcement as the Financial Times reported that he had directly offered several millions of dollars to about a dozen ship captains
“The Iranians are not capitulating,” said Barbara Slavin, director of the Future of Iran Initiative at the Atlantic Council, a foreign policy think tank in Washington. “They’re not saying ... ‘Please, Mr. Trump, can we have a meeting with you?’”
Instead, Iran has launched its own aggressive strategy, downing an American drone, allegedly sabotaging other ships passing through the Strait of Hormuz, and using circuitous shipping routes and cloaked transponders to move its own oil.
The Adrian Darya – previously named Grace 1– began its current journey in mid-April, starting in Iran's main export terminal where it apparently was loaded up with light crude oil, said Samir Madani, co-founder of TankerTrackers.com, a company that uses satellite imagery and other tools to track crude oil shipments. The ship's transponder was "cloaked" at the time, he said, and his firm couldn't get any images of it because of bad weather.
Iran tensions: US signals it may block France's Iran plan as it offers millions to tanker captains to impound Iranian oil
The Trump administration ratcheted up pressure on Iran Wednesday, announcing a reward program to disrupt Tehran's financial operations as well as confirming it had offered to pay tanker captains if they helped the United States impound Iranian vessels carrying Iranian oil and unveiling a new wave of sanctions. © MOHAMMED SAWAF/AFP/AFP/Getty Images Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks at a tribal meeting as he visits Karbala, Iraq on March 12, 2019. Rouhani arrived on March 11 for his first official visit to Iraq as Baghdad comes under pressure from Washington to limit political and trade ties with its neighbour.
Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif on Wednesday accused the Trump administration of engaging in "outright blackmail" after the Financial Times reported a State Department official offered the captain of an Iran -owned oil tanker millions of dollars to divert the ship to a nation which would detain it on
WASHINGTON (AFP) — A senior US official personally offered several million dollars to the Indian captain of an Iranian oil tanker suspected of heading to Syria, the State Department confirmed Wednesday. The Financial Times reported that Brian Hook, the State Department pointman on Iran
"She resurfaced then, heading back out of the Iran area but waited around in the Persian Gulf until around May," he said. "Then she left, sailing all the way around Africa" and apparently heading to the Mediterranean.
Slideshow by photo services
The domestically built mobile missile defence system Bavar-373 is displayed on the National Defence Industry Day in Tehran, Iran, on Aug. 22.
In this photo, President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a ceremony to unveil the Iran-made Bavar-373, a long-range surface-to-air missile system at an undisclosed location in Iran, on Aug. 22. Rouhani struck a muscular tone on dealings with the U.S., saying that "talks are useless" as Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers crumbles further.
A boat of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard sails near to Stena Impero, a British-flagged vessel owned by Stena Bulk, at undisclosed place in Bandar Abbas port, Iran, on Aug. 22.
A crew member checks the new name of Iranian oil tanker Adrian Darya, formerly known as Grace 1, off the coast of Gibraltar on Aug. 18. Gibraltar rejected a US demand to seize the Iranian oil tanker at the centre of a diplomatic dispute as it prepared to leave the British overseas territory after weeks of detention.
Iran seizes boat in Strait of Hormuz, arrests Filipinos: report
Iran seized a boat and arrested 12 Filipinos as it busted a "fuel-smuggling ring" in the Strait of Hormuz on Saturday, the semi-official news agency ISNA reported. Dehaki said the group was suspected of operating a fuel-smuggling ring and the confiscated shipment had been intercepted close to Sirik county in the Strait of Hormuz. The seizure comes amid tensions in the Gulf after the United States unilaterally withdrew from a nuclear deal putting curbs on Iran's nuclear programme in return for relief from sanctions.
The US State Department has confirmed that one of its officials offered millions of dollars to the captain of an Iranian oil tanker which is at the centre of a diplomatic row. America wanted the captain to sail the vessel to a country that would impound and seize the ship on behalf of the United States.
Trump 's withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and Western powers and the imposition of The Adrian Darya, which carries 2.1 million barrels of Iranian crude worth some 0 million Hook offered Kumar several million dollars to cooperate through the Rewards for Justice program, a
An Iranian flag flutters on board the Adrian Darya oil tanker, formerly known as Grace 1, off the coast of Gibraltar on Aug. 18.
A stern view of the Grace 1 super tanker in the British territory of Gibraltar, on Aug. 15, seized last month in a British Royal Navy operation off Gibraltar. The United States moved on Thursday, August 15 to halt the release of the Iranian supertanker Grace 1, detained in Gibraltar for breaching EU sanctions on oil shipments to Syria, thwarting efforts by authorities in London and the British overseas territory to defuse tensions with Tehran.
Gibraltar police officers sail in the area where Iranian oil tanker Grace 1 sits anchored on Aug. 13.
Marines with the Maritime Raid Force, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) climb a caving ladder to board the amphibious transport dock ship USS John P. Murtha (LPD 26) during a visit, board, search and seizure training exercise in the Gulf, in this undated handout picture released by U.S. Navy on July 25.
A Marine with the Maritime Raid Force, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) holds a tactical assault ladder during a visit, board, search and seizure exercise in the Gulf, in this undated handout picture released by U.S. Navy on July 25.
Iranian forces seized a ship, which it suspected of carrying smuggled fuel, state media reported on Aug. 4, marking the Revolutionary Guard's third seizure of a vessel in recent weeks and the latest show of strength by the paramilitary force amid a spike in regional tensions.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks at a press conference in Tehran, Iran, on Aug. 5. Zarif lambasted recent U.S. financial sanctions against him, calling the move a "failure" for diplomacy amid escalating tensions in the Persian Gulf.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani delivers a speech regarding the inclusion of Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in U.S. sanctions, as he attends a ceremony in Tabriz, Iran on Aug. 1.
White House National Security Advisor John Bolton walks out of the White House West Wing on July 31, in Washington, DC. Earlier in the day the Treasury Department announced the U.S. imposes sanctions on Iran's foreign minister.
Iran's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Kazem Gharib Abadi is pictured during a meeting of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, on Aug. 1.
The European Union's political director Helga Schmid and Iran's deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi, from left, wait for a bilateral meeting as part of the closed-door nuclear talks with Iran at a hotel in Vienna, Austria, Sunday, July 28.
Iran's nuclear chief: EU has failed to fulfill 2015 deal commitments
Iran's nuclear chief: EU has failed to fulfill 2015 deal commitments
An aerial view shows a speedboat of Iran's Revolutionary Guard moving around the British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero which was seized in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday by the Guard, in the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas.
Global stock markets were subdued Monday while the price of oil climbed as tensions in the Persian Gulf escalated after Iran's seizure of a British oil tanker on Friday.
In this photo released by state-run IRIB News Agency, which aired on July 22, shows various crew members of the British-flagged tanker Stena Impero, that was seized by Tehran in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday, during a meeting.
In this photo released by state-run IRIB News Agency, which aired on Monday, July 22, shows members of the crew of the British-flagged tanker Stena Impero that was seized by Tehran in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday.
Deena with her husband Pappachan T V, parents of Dijo Pappachan, one of the crew members of British-flagged vessel owned by Stena Bulk, seized by Iran, cries as she watches television news at their home in Kochi, India, July 21.
Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir Nick Carter arriving at the Cabinet Office in Whitehall, central London, to attend a meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Theresa May of the Government's emergency committee Cobra after Iran seized a British-flagged oil tanker in the Persian Gulf.
An Iranian Revolutionary Guard member walks onboard of Stena Impero, a British-flagged vessel owned by Stena Bulk, in Bandar Abbas port, Iran July 21.
A speedboat of the Iran's Revolutionary Guard moves around a British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero, which was seized on Friday by the Guard, in the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas, on July 21. Iran warned Sunday that the fate of a UK-flagged tanker it seized in the Gulf depends on an investigation, as Britain said it was considering options in response to the standoff.
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A picture taken on July 21, 2019, shows Iranian Revolutionary Guards patrolling around the British-flagged tanker Stena Impero as it's anchored off the Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas, on July 21.
Britain's Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt leaves 10 Downing Street on July 20, following a meeting held over British oil tanker Stena Impero which was captured in Iranian waters whilst en route to Saudi Arabia.
A video grab made available by Iranian state television's English-language service, Press TV reportedly shows the footage released by Iranian revolutionary guard (IRGC) from its drone which shows US navy ships in the Strait of Hormuz, 18 July 2019 (issued 19 July 2019). The release comes after the US said on 18 July that the USS Boxer had shot down an Iranian drone. Iran denies US shot down drone in Strait of Hormuz.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif greets United Nations (U.N.) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at U.N. Headquarters in New York, July 18.
Undated handout photo issued by Stena Bulk of the British oil tanker Stena Impero which is believed to have been captured in Iranian waters whilst en route to Saudi Arabia. Owner Stena Bulk has confirmed that the tanker was approached by unidentified small crafts and a helicopter whilst in international waters in the Strait of Hormuz and they are unable to contact the vessel which is now heading north towards Iran.
The route taken by the British oil tanker Stena Impero which is believed to have been captured in Iranian waters while en route to Saudi Arabia.
An MV-22 Osprey aircraft takes off on the deck of the USS Boxer (LHD-4) in the Arabian Sea off Oman, on July 17.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif speaks as he attends a high-level political forum on sustainable development on July 17, at the UN Headquarters in New York.
This undated photo provided by Iranian state television's English-language service, Press TV, shows the Panamanian-flagged oil tanker MT Riah surrounded by Iranian Revolutionary Guard vessels.
An MV-22 Osprey aircraft lands on the deck of USS Abraham Lincoln the Gulf of Oman near the Strait of Hormuz, on July 15.
U.S. Representative Seth Moulton (D-MA) speaks in favor of inclusion of House Amendment #270 to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), aimed at preventing war with Iran, at the Capitol in Washington, DC, on July 10.
A warship belonging to the British Navy, allegedly sent to the Strait of Hormuz, is seen passing through the Bosphorus in Istanbul, Turkey, on July 12.
Supertanker Grace 1 off the coast of Gibraltar on July 6. Iran demanded on July 5 that Britain immediately release the tanker it had detained, accusing it of acting at the bidding of the United States. Authorities in Gibraltar, a British overseas territory on Spain's southern tip at the western entrance to the Mediterranean, said they suspected the tanker was carrying crude oil to Syria in violation of EU sanctions.
British soldiers are seen during an operation involving the oil supertanker Grace 1.
Oil supertanker Grace 1 is seen in waters of the British overseas territory of Gibraltar, historically claimed by Spain, on July 4.
(L to R) Iran's Atomic Energy Organization spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi, government spokesman Ali Rabiei, and Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi give a joint press conference at the presidential headquarters in Tehran on July 7. Iran said it would begin enriching uranium beyond a 3.67 percent cap set by a landmark nuclear deal "in a few hours", the Islamic republic's atomic energy organisation spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said on July 7.
Iran warns U.S. of ‘broad’ retaliation in case of any attack
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is headed to Saudi Arabia to discuss the brewing crisis.
A British Royal Navy ship (L) patrols near supertanker Grace 1 suspected of carrying crude oil to Syria in violation of EU sanctions after it was detained off the coast of Gibraltar on July 4. Iran demanded on July 5, that Britain immediately release the tanker, accusing it of acting at the bidding of the United States.
Aircraft maneuver into position for an Independence Day air power demonstration on the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln in the Arabian Sea on July 4. The USS Abraham Lincoln was rushed to the Mideast amid tensions between the U.S. and Iran as its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers unravels.
Acting U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Jonathan Cohen addresses the U.N. Security Council briefing on implementation of the resolution that endorsed the Iran nuclear deal at the United Nations headquarters in New York, June 26.
Iran's Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Majid Takht Ravanchi delivers a speech during the U.N. Security Council on implementation of the resolution that endorsed the Iran nuclear deal at the United Nations headquarters on June 26.
A U.S. Air Force (USAF) pilot from the 4th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron enters the cockpit of an F-35A Lightning II before Exercise Tri-Lightning, at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, June 25.
Iranian president Hassan Rouhani speaks during the cabinet meeting in Tehran, on June 26. Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Abbas Mousavi, said in a tweet that the newly announced sanctions meant that the channel of diplomacy has been closed forever.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks in a meeting with the Health Ministry officials, in Tehran, Iran on June 25. Iran on Tuesday sharply criticized new U.S. sanctions targeting the Islamic Republic's supreme leader and other top officials.
President Donald Trump displays an executive order imposing fresh sanctions on Iran in the Oval Office of the White House, on June 24.
US National Security Advisor John Bolton (R) speaks next to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and Nikolai Patrushev (C), Russian Secretary of the Security Council, during a press conference of the trilateral meeting of the US, Russian and Israeli national security advisers in Jerusalem, Israel on June 25. The meeting is a first-ever trilateral summit between the Russian, Israeli and American national security advisers with Nikolai Patrushev Russian Secretary of the Security Council, Meir Ben Shabbat, Israeli Security adviser and John Bolton, US National Security Advisor. the trilateral summit talks focuses on Iran, Syria and regional issues.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) meets with Mohamed ben Zayed Al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, in Abu Dhabi, UAE on June 24. The United States, Britain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have jointly called for "diplomatic solutions" to ease soaring tensions with Iran.
Seated under a portrait of the Saudi monarch, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) meets with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at Al Salam Palace in the Red Sea port of Jeddah on June 24. - Pompeo arrived Monday in Saudi Arabia for talks on coordinating with the close ally amid mounting tensions with Iran.
Iranian Judiciary chief Ebrahim Rais (C) attends a meeting with foreign ambassadors in Iran in the Islamic republic's capital Tehran on June 24. - Iran denied the same day it was hit by a US cyber attack as Washington was due to tighten sanctions on Tehran in a standoff sparked by the US withdrawal from a nuclear deal.
President Donald Trump walks off Marine One at the White House after spending the weekend at Camp David on June 23, in Washington, DC. President Donald Trump warned the United States may launch a devastating military attack on Iran unless it comes to the negotiating table and drops its bid to develop nuclear weapons.
Protesters gather in front of the White House to speak out against a possible war with Iran on June 23, in Washington, DC. U.S. President Donald Trump said he almost launched a retaliatory strike after it was alleged that Iran shot down an unmanned U.S. drone last week, in a tweet he said he called off the attack after learning the number of potential casualties.
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on June 20 in Washington. Trump declared that "Iran made a very big mistake" in shooting down a U.S. drone but suggested it was an accident rather than a strategic error.
General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, Iran's Head of the Revolutionary Guard's aerospace division, speaks to media next to debris from a downed US drone reportedly recovered within Iran's territorial waters and put on display by the Revolutionary Guard in the capital Tehran on June 21.
Protesters hold signs spelling out, "No War," outside the White House, on June 20 in Washington, after President Trump tweeted that "Iran made a very big mistake" by shooting down a US surveillance drone over the Strait of Hormuz in Iran.
A still image from surveillance video provided by the U.S. military shows what they say is a drone being shot down over the Strait of Hormuz on June 20.
U.S. Air Force maintainers prepare a military drone RQ-4A Global Hawk for takeoff at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia. Picture taken on Dec. 2, 2010.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is seen near a "3 Khordad" system which was allegedly been used to shoot down a U.S. military drone, according to news agency Fars, in this undated handout picture.
Journalists take pictures of a magnet the U.S. Navy says came from a limpet mine that didn't explode on a Japanese-owned oil tanker at a 5th Fleet base, during a trip organized by the Navy for journalists, near Fujairah, United Arab Emirates, on June 19.
A picture taken during a guided tour by the US Navy (NAVCENT) shows the Japanese oil tanker Kokuka Courageous off the port of the Gulf emirate of Fujairah on June 19.
This image released by the U.S. Department of Defense on June 17, and taken from a U.S. Navy helicopter, shows what the Navy says are members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy removing an unexploded limpet mine from the M/T Kokuka Courageous.
Crew members of the Kokuka Courageous oil tanker receive medical attention from military personnel aboard missile destroyer USS Bainbridge, at sea, June 13.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks from the State Department briefing room on June 13, in Washington, DC. Pompeo said, "It is the assessment of the U.S. government that Iran is responsible for today's attacks in the Gulf of Oman. These attacks are a threat to international peace and security, a blatant assault on the freedom of navigation, and an unacceptable escalation of tension by Iran."
This picture, obtained by AFP from Iranian News Agency ISNA on June 13, reportedly shows fire and smoke billowing from a tanker said to have been attacked in the waters of the Gulf of Oman.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (L) shakes hands with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, during a welcoming ceremony at the Saadabad Palace in the capital Tehran on June 12. Abe arrived in Tehran on June 12 for a rare diplomatic mission, hoping to defuse tensions between the Islamic republic and Tokyo's ally Washington.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a media briefing at the State Department June 10, in Washington, D.C. Secretary Pompeo discussed topics including the latest development on tension with Iran.
This undated photograph from the United Arab Emirates' Mission to the United Nations released Thursday, June 6, shows a diver investigating the damage done to the Saudi-owned oil tanker Al Marzoqah off the coast of Fujairah, United Arab Emirates. A joint statement released Thursday by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Norway said the damage done to the four oil tankers off the UAE likely came from limpet mines placed by a "state actor" amid U.S. and Saudi allegations Iran carried out the sabotage. Iran has denied being involved amid heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington.
The USS Abraham Lincoln carrier and a U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress, conduct joint exercises in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility in Arabian sea on June 1.
President Trump talks to journalists as he departs the White House for a campaign rally in Pennsylvania on May 20 in Washington, DC. On his way to Montoursville, Pennsylvania, Trump said that Iran does not currently pose a direct threat to the United States.
The two nations’ competing playbooks collided in July near Gibraltar, when the British Royal Navy seized the Adrian Darya, previously called the Grace 1. British and American officials suspected the ship was headed to Syria, in violation of European sanctions on oil sales to the brutal Assad regime in that war-torn country.
The Trump administration tried to seize the vessel from Gibraltar, saying the ship and its oil were subject to U.S. forfeiture based on alleged violations of bank fraud and money laundering statutes, and other crimes.
But officials in Gibraltar defied the U.S. legal move and released the oil tanker on Aug. 16. The ship’s captain, a 43-year-old Indian man named Akhilesh Kumar, steered the supertanker slowly away from Gibraltar and into international waters, according to Madani.
About a week later, as the Adrian Darya meandered toward the east Mediterranean, Kumar received a remarkable email.
“This is Brian Hook … I work for secretary of state Mike Pompeo and serve as the US Representative for Iran,” the Aug. 26 missive read. “I am writing with good news.” Hook confirmed to USA TODAY that he sent the email, which was first reported by the Financial Times.
Hook proceeded to offer the ship’s captain several million dollars, if he agreed to steer the vessel to a port where the U.S. could seize it.
“With this money you can have any life you wish and be well-off in old age,” Hook wrote in a second email. “If you choose not to take this easy path, life will be much harder for you.”
The captain apparently did not respond to Hook’s email. And on Aug. 30, the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned the ship and Kumar. USA TODAY was unable to contact Kumar for comment or to confirm that he read the emails.
Iran's semi-official news agency labeled the move an attempted "bribe" and the country's foreign minister, Javad Zarif, derided it as desperate.
"Having failed at piracy, the US resorts to outright blackmail—deliver us Iran’s oil and receive several million dollars or be sanctioned yourself," Zarif tweeted on Wednesday.
Hook’s offer of U.S. taxpayer funds is allowed under a State Department program called Rewards for Justice, which provides money to individuals who help the U.S. prevent terrorist attacks or catch perpetrators. Hook publicly announced this week that the State Department would award up to $15 million to anyone who helped the U.S. disrupt the financial operations of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, an elite military unit that the Trump administration has designated as a terrorist group.
“It’s the first time that the United States has offered a reward for information that disrupts a government entity’s financial operations,” Hook told reporters. “We have taken this step because the IRGC operates more like a terrorist organization than it does a government.”
Slavin said Hook’s email to Kumar was “amateurish” and unprecedented.
“I have never seen anything like that in my life,” she said.
“It really did read like a Nigerian come-on: Send me your bank account information and you will become a millionaire tomorrow,” Slavin added, referring to the notorious foreign email scams. “Whose idea it was, I can’t even imagine.”
As of Sept. 4, the Adrian Darya was approximately 60 miles off the Syrian coast, according to TankerTrackers.com. Satellite imagery tweeted out Friday by Trump's National Security Advisor John Bolton appeared to show the ship just a few miles off the coast of Syria. It was not clear if its oil cargo had been unloaded.
Iran on Saturday said that it seized a separate tugboat near the Strait of Hormuz, a key waterway for oil transportation. It said 12 Filipinos were aboard the boat. It was not immediately clear what national flag the boat was sailing under.
Madani, the company’s co-founder, said the crew may be planning to offload some or all of its oil, either via a Syrian port or a ship-to-ship transfer, and then head through the Suez Canal and back to Iran. He said he’s not sure why the Trump administration seems so focused on this particular ship, but its pressure has not stopped Iran from sending oil to Syria via other ships and other routes.
The U.S. is unlikely to be in a position to impound the vessel any time soon, said Andrew Serdy, an expert on maritime law at the University of Southampton in southern England.
"The boat can't be seized in a foreign nation's territorial sea,” he said. The only place that the U.S. could realistically seize the Iran-flagged Adrian Darya1 would be in its own territorial waters several thousand miles away: the U.S. East Coast.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump official offered millions of dollars to captain of Iranian ship
Iran warns U.S. of ‘broad’ retaliation in case of any attack.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is headed to Saudi Arabia to discuss the brewing crisis.