The United States threatened to slap sanctions on any ports or banks or virtually anyone trying to make deals with Iranian oil tanker Grace 1—the ship that was released on Thursday by Gibraltar over the objection of the United States.
The U.S. is “gravely disappointed” with the UK and its overseas territory Gibraltar for releasing the oil tanker, which was detained in early July on suspicion of carrying the oil to a Syrian entity which is under European Union sanctions, Bloomberg reports, citing two U.S. administration officials.
The authorities of Gibraltar ruled to release Grace 1 on Thursday, despite the U.S. DOJ claim that it had asked Gibraltar to detain the tanker. The Supreme Court in Gibraltar said it had not received a written request from the DOJ to detain the tanker.
“On 13 August, I received written assurance from the Republic of Iran that, if released, the destination of Grace 1 would not be an entity that is subject to European Union sanctions,” the Chief Minister of Gibraltar, Fabian Picardo, said on Thursday announcing the release of the tanker.
After the tanker is now released, the U.S. would consider anyone trying to do business with the tanker, its crew, or its owners liable for breaching the U.S. sanctions on Iran, the officials told Bloomberg.
After the tanker was released on Thursday, the U.S. Department of State said in a statement that “The United States assesses that the M/T Grace I was assisting the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) by transporting oil from Iran to Syria. This could result in serious consequences for any individuals associated with the Grace I.”
Earlier this year, the U.S. designated the IRGC a terrorist organization.
“Crewmembers of vessels assisting the IRGC by transporting oil from Iran may be ineligible for visas or admission to the United States under the terrorism-related inadmissibility grounds in Section 212(a)(3)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act,” the U.S. State Department said.
“The maritime community should be aware that the U.S. government intends to revoke visas held by members of such crews,” it added.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that this is “A message to all mariners – if you crew an IRGC or other FTO-affiliated ship, you jeopardize future entry to the U.S.”
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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