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30 Aug, 2019 22:32

US sanctions Iranian tanker released by Gibraltar & blacklists captain

US sanctions Iranian tanker released by Gibraltar & blacklists captain

The US Treasury Department has blacklisted the Iranian oil tanker Adrian Darya - recently freed from a month-long detention in Gibraltar - and sanctioned its captain after an attempt to legally confiscate the ship failed.

The Office of Foreign Assets Control added the ship, formerly called Grace 1, and its captain Akhilesh Kumar to its Specially Designated Nationals list on Friday as the tanker’s destination changed from Turkey to Lebanon. Washington has accused the vessel of crimes including money laundering and financing terrorism, filing a last-minute civil asset forfeiture suit earlier this month in an attempt to seize it as Gibraltar authorities allowed it to set sail after a lengthy detention.

In a statement released Friday, Treasury Under Secretary Sigal Mandelker said that the vessel was complicit in enabling the elite Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard “ship and transfer large volumes of oil, which they attempt to mask and sell illicitly to fund the regime’s malign activities and propagate terrorism.”

Anyone providing support to the Adrian Darya 1 risks being sanctioned.

The IRGC was designated a terrorist organization earlier this year by the Trump administration, as part of its “maximum pressure campaign” against Iran that seeks to reduce its oil exports to zero.
The Adrian Darya was seized by the Royal Marines last month and charged with illegally transporting Iranian oil to Syria in violation of EU sanctions, though Gibraltar authorities cleared the vessel of wrongdoing earlier this month.

Also on rt.com US tells Greece any help to Iranian tanker may be ‘terrorism support’

The Adrian Darya has changed course several times since its liberation, initially appearing to set sail for Greece only to change course after the US warned Athens that harboring the vessel would be seen as “supporting terrorism.” The tanker then headed for Mersin in Turkey, changed course for Cyprus - only to head back toward the Turkish port of Iskenderun. It is currently en route to Lebanon, according to the Turkish foreign minister - a fact that reportedly came as a surprise to the Lebanese authorities. 

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