By Ebrahim Fallahi

Washington's plots and threats not to scare away Iranian oil buyers

August 27, 2019

TEHRAN – Nearly 10 days after the release of Iranian super tanker Grace 1 by the Gibraltar court, despite all the U.S. warnings that anyone dealing with the Iranian oil tanker would face sanctions, Iran announced that the supertanker’s 2 million-barrel cargo has been sold and the vessel is heading to a destination determined by the buyer.

According to Ali Rabiee, a government spokesman, the cargo aboard the Grace 1 which has now changed its name to Adrian Darya, has been sold and Iran doesn’t know where the tanker is headed now.

“The owner of the purchased oil would determine at which coast it (Adrian Darya) will berth. I don’t know its destination,” Rabiee told Tasnim news agency on Monday.

Selling the oil cargo came as a great shock to the U.S. officials like U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton and Mike Pompeo who had done their best to prevent this from happening.

Soon after the release of the Iranian supertanker, the U.S. government had even issued a warrant for its seizure on the pretext that it had links to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

Earlier on Sunday, Bolton had tweeted that “All hands on deck in the campaign to stop Iran from funding terror, destabilizing the globe, and breaking international sanctions. The illicit oil heading to Turkey on the Adrian Darya 1 must not be allowed off-loaded in port or at sea.”  

But clearly all the campaign’s efforts along with Washington’s threats and showing teeth haven’t had the intended impact on Iranian oil buyers that for long have been objecting the U.S. policies and their impact on the global economy. 

The story behind a piracy

When in early July, British Royal Marines seized Iran’s oil supertanker, Grace 1, in Gibraltar on claims that the tanker was taking oil to Syria and it was violation of EU sanctions, it heated up the already high tensions between Iran and the United States.

Immodestly after the seizure, Iran’s Foreign Ministry announced that seizing the oil tanker was the same as stealing because the sanctions imposed by UK or the European Union do not apply to other countries and UK was not allowed to force them on Iran. 

When Bolton heard of the UK seizing Iranian oil tanker on America’s Independence Day, his joy was unconfined. “Excellent news: UK has detained the supertanker Grace I laden with Iranian oil bound for Syria in violation of EU sanctions,” he Twitted.

Although at first glance it seems that Bolton was surprised by the news but the reality was that Bolton’s national security team was directly involved in manufacturing the Gibraltar incident.

The U.S. aimed to increase psychological and economic pressure on Iran through expanding its disruptive actions into every possible point of the Islamic country’s economic activities.

However, nearly 40 days after Grace 1 was seized, the Gibraltar court ordered it to be released in mid-August.

This verdict put an end to the elaborate game which was designed by Bolton and Mike Pompeo, and carried out by the Britain government. 

According to Refinitiv Eikon shipping data carried by Reuters, the Adrian Darya 1—currently west of the island of Crete in the Mediterranean—is no longer heading for Turkey.

EF/MA

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