IRAN has sold the oil from the tanker released from detention in Gibraltar earlier this month to a mystery buyer.
The Adrian Darya 1, previously named Grace 1, was seized by royal marines on July 4 suspected of transporting oil to Syria in breach of an EU embargo.
It was released on August 15 after becoming the subject of a protracted diplomatic row involving Britain, Iran, and the US that saw Iran seize a British flagged ship in the Gulf.
The British ship, the Stena Impero, remains detained in the port of Bandar Abbas on Iran’s southern coast, with its release currently being negotiated.
Iranian state media confirmed today that the £115 million ($140 million) worth of light crude oil aboard the Adrian Darya 1 has now been sold.
Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei was quoted as saying: ‘The Islamic Republic of Iran has sold the oil of this ship and right now the owner and buyer of the oil decides… what the destination of the consignment will be.”
The ship was travelling through the Strait of Gibraltar at the time of its detention.
Rabiei did not confirm the identity of the buyer or whether the oil had been sold before or after the ship was detained.
LAST-MINUTE BID TO STOP RELEASE
A federal court in Washington issued a warrant for the seizure of the tanker in a last-minute bid to stop the release, but Gibraltar rejected the request on legal grounds.
A government statement said: “The EU sanctions regime against Iran – which is applicable in Gibraltar – is much narrower than that applicable in the US.
“The Gibraltar Central Authority is unable seek an Order of the Supreme Court of Gibraltar to provide the restraining assistance required by the United States of America.”
The UK territory received written assurances from Iran that the ship would not discharge its cargo in Syria.
The US has claimed the tanker has links to the operations of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which it has designated a terrorist organisation.
The Adrian Darya 1 set sail under an Iranian flag on August 18, three days after its release, and headed for the eastern Mediterranean, although its final destination is not known.
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Rabiei’s statement also accused the US of “constantly monitoring” the tanker and pressuring other countries not to receive it.
Iran strongly denies the ship had been travelling to Syria when it was seized.
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