Athens will not provide aid to Iranian tanker, official says
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Athens will not provide aid to Iranian tanker, official says

The ship is heading toward the Greek coast after being detained for a month in Gibraltar

The Iranian supertanker Grace 1 is seen off the coast of Gibraltar on August 15, 2019. (Jorge Guerrero/AFP)
The Iranian supertanker Grace 1 is seen off the coast of Gibraltar on August 15, 2019. (Jorge Guerrero/AFP)

Greece’s deputy foreign minister announced Wednesday that his government will not help an Iranian oil-tanker approaching its shores deliver oil to Syria, Reuters reported.

“We have sent a clear message that we would not want to facilitate the trafficking of this oil to Syria in any instance,” the news agency quoted Miltiadis Varvitsiotis as telling Greece’s ANT1 television network.

The Adrian Darya 1, previously Grace 1, is an Iranian supertanker with $130 million worth of light crude oil that the United States suspects is tied to a sanctioned organization.

“This is a VLCC, a very large crude carrier … There is no Greek port that could accommodate a VLCC,” Varvitsiotis said, adding that if the ship entered his country’s waters “we will see what will happen.”

Crew members of the Grace 1 super tanker remove the name of ship in the British territory of Gibraltar, August 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Marcos Moreno)

The vessel left Gibraltar late Sunday after having been detained for a month in the British overseas territory for allegedly attempting to breach European Union sanctions on Syria. Gibraltar authorities rejected attempts by the US to seize the oil tanker again, arguing that EU regulations are less strict than US sanctions on Iran.

Gibraltar said it had been assured by Iran that the tanker wouldn’t unload its cargo in Syria.

Iranian government officials have yet to publicly acknowledge the ship’s next destination, or where it will discharge its cargo of 2.1 million barrels of crude oil. Iran has denied it was ever headed for Syria.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Tuesday that anyone who “touches,” supports or allows the tanker to dock risks US sanctions.

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