Friday’s warrant from the US Justice Division seems to be a final-ditch try to cease the tanker setting sail, following it failed to cease Gibraltar’s Supreme Court approving its release on Thursday.
Gibraltar mentioned it had received assurances from Iran and the owners of the oil that, have been the tanker to be released, its cargo would not be taken to Syria.
Iran meanwhile insisted it had created no such commitments that the ship would not go to Syria. “Due to the fact from the early hours of the tanker’s detention, we announced that Syria was not its location,” mentioned the country’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Seyed Abbas Mousavi, according to the semi-official Tasnim news.
But the US warrant alleges the tanker was component of a scheme involving “illicit shipments to Syria from Iran by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC),” which it deems to be a terrorist organization.
The scheme “includes numerous parties affiliated with the IRGC and furthered by the deceptive voyages of the Grace 1,” the US Division of Justice mentioned in a statement.
The warrant says the vessel, all the oil on board and pretty much $1 million are “topic to forfeiture,” due to violation of revenue laundering and terrorism statutes.
CNN contacted Gibraltar’s Supreme Court but had not received a reply at time of publishing.
Act of ‘piracy’
Iran has previously criticized the seizure as “illegal” and condemned the operation as “piracy.”
Responding to the most current warrant, Iran warned that any delay in finding the Grace 1 tanker moving out of Gibraltar could give the US with an chance for “abuse,” Fars News Agency reported.
For now, the tanker remains in Gibraltar waters as it awaits a new captain and a quantity of crew members, Fars added. The captain of the ship, who is an Indian national, will be replaced by an Iranian, it mentioned.
The report mentioned that the tanker had previously began moving and smoke was noticed from the chimney of the engine — but it did not get far and is nevertheless off the coast of Gibraltar.
A lawyer for the tanker told Fars that the vessel necessary to be repaired, and a single of the factors for its suspension was to replace some components.
CNN’s Sara Mazloumsaki contributed to this report.