Reuters is reporting that The United States on Tuesday warned Greece and other Mediterranean states that helping the Iranian oil tanker recently released by Gibraltar authorities in any way whatsoever would be equal to supporting a terrorist organization.
The oil tanker, formerly called “Grace 1,” renamed by Iranians as the “Adrian Darya 1,” is heading to the port of Kalamata in Greece after it was released by Gibraltar on Sunday, where it had been detained since July 4.
The ship’s detention was part of the sanctions the European Union has imposed on Iran for supporting the Syrian government. The gigantic tanker is transporting 2.1 million barrels of oil which were allegedly headed for Syria originally.
At the same time, Washington issued a warrant to detain the tanker on the grounds that it had links to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which it has designated a terrorist organization.
The diplomatic confrontation between Tehran and the West has heightened tensions along international oil shipping routes through the Gulf.
Speaking guardedly about the tanker’s release in an interview on Fox News Channel, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated only that “It’s unfortunate that that happened.”
Pompeo explained that if Iran profits from the tanker’s oil cargo — which has an estimated worth of roughly $150 million — IRGC elite forces would have “more money, more wealth, more resources to continue their terror campaign.”
A US State Department official said Washington had conveyed its “strong position” to the Greek government, as well as to all port authorities in the Mediterranean, about assisting the tanker in any way.
The official said facilitating anything having to do with the ship could be considered providing support to a terrorist organization.
According to the Reuters report, this will be a test for the country’s new prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
Greek Minister of Shipping Yiannis Plakiotakis said on Skai television on Tuesday, “So far there is no request for the Iranian tanker to sail to Kalamata.”
The minister also said that the matter is being monitored, and the ministry is in open co-operation with Greece’s foreign ministry.