An Iranian oil tanker freed by the United Kingdom sailed for Greece on Monday, as Washington denounced its release from Gibraltar, and warned Athens and Mediterranean ports against assisting the ship.
“It’s unfortunate that that happened,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the Fox News Channel on Monday regarding the Grace 1’s release.
The United States made an unsuccessful last-minute attempt to stop the freeing of the tanker, which was apparently renamed the Adrian Darya 1 before it left Gibraltar.
Iran said if the United States attempts to seize the ship, there would be “heavy consequences.”
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in Finland that the United States is seeking “more escalation.”
Grace 1 was seized on July 4 by Gibraltarian authorities with assistance from British Royal Marines on suspicion of bringing oil to Syria in violation of sanctions in place by the European Union.
Gibraltar stated that it received guarantees from Tehran that the owners of the oil tanker would not take it to Syria. The United Kingdom made such on offer with that contingency nine days after the seizure.