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Greek Prime Minister: Iranian oil tanker ‘not headed for Greece’

Greece Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. (The Kremlin/Released).

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

An Iranian supertanker at the center of a diplomatic row between Tehran and Washington “is not headed for Greece,” Greek Prime Minister Kyrikos Mitsotakis has said.

“We have not received a request for it to dock in a Greek port,” Mitsotakis, who was in Paris for a meeting with President Emmanuel Macron, told France-24 TV on August 22.

The Adrian Darya, formerly known as Grace 1, is sought by the United States as it sails through the Mediterranean Sea with $130 million worth of crude oil.
The vessel was seized on July 4 by British Royal Marines off Gibraltar, suspected of transporting oil to Syria in violation of European Union sanctions.

It was allowed to leave the British territory on August 19 after giving local authorities assurances it would not travel on to Syria.

But the United States wants to detain the tanker again on the grounds it has links to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), an organization sanctioned by Washington.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that the United States will take every action it can to prevent the Adrian Darya delivering oil to Syria in contravention of U.S. sanctions.

“We have made clear that anyone who touches it, anyone who supports it, anyone who allows a ship to dock is at risk of receiving sanctions from the United States,” Pompeo told reporters on August 20.

Ship-tracking data earlier this week showed it was heading toward the Greek port of Kalamata on the southern coast of the Peloponnese.