Washington, The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has blacklisted an Iranian tanker -- Adrian Darya 1 -- it claims is being used to ship oil to Syria. The Adrian Darya 1, previously known as Grace 1, was detained by British authorities in Gibraltar in July after it was suspected of moving oil to Syria in breach of EU sanctions.
It was released earlier this month after Iran gave assurances that it would not discharge its cargo in Syria. The US has since tried, unsuccessfully, to have the ship detained again. Its initial seizure sparked a diplomatic crisis between the UK and Iran, which saw Iran seize a British-flagged and Swedish-owned oil tanker, the Stena Impero, in the Gulf.
In a statement, the US Treasury said the Adrian Darya 1 was being used to transport 2.1 million barrels of Iranian crude oil for the benefit of Iran's Revolutionary Guard - a branch of the country's armed forces that the US has designated a terrorist organisation.It insisted that ships like Adrian Darya 1 were being used to sell oil illicitly to fund Iran's "malign activities and propagate terrorism".
“Vessels like the Adrian Darya 1 enable the IRGC-QF to 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,” said Sigal Mandelker, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. “Anyone providing support to the Adrian Darya 1 risks being sanctioned. The path to relief is to change course and not allow the IRGC-QF to profit from illicit oil sales.”
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo added in a Tweet that America had "reliable information" the vessel was on course to Tartus, a major Syrian port city which is also home to a Russian naval base. He added that it was "a big mistake" to trust any assurances about the ship from Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.