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Iran says oil tanker has delivered contentious cargo in Mediterranean

Adrian Darya 1, formerly known as Grace 1 (kees torn/WikiCommons)
September 09, 2019

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

Iran says that an oil tanker that was detained by Britain in July and is still sought by American authorities has delivered its load of Iranian crude to an undisclosed location.

“The Adrian Darya oil tanker finally docked on the Mediterranean coast…and unloaded its cargo,” the country’s state news agency quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Musavi as saying on September 8.

The Adrian Darya 1 has been at the center of a dispute between Tehran and the West, which has raised concerns that the ship intended to violate sanctions by unloading its suspected 2 million barrels of oil in Syria.

Iran has denied the suggestion, and recently said the purchaser of the ship’s oil would decide its ultimate destination.

The ship has reported various destinations since it was released by Gibraltar authorities in mid-August on the promise that its cargo was not bound for Syria. It had been held for six weeks after being detained by British commandos.

The ship apparently turned off its location transponders off the coast of Syria last week.

Early on September 7, U.S. national-security adviser John Bolton tweeted a satellite image that appeared to show the tanker near the Syrian port city of Tartus.

“Anyone who said the Adrian Darya 1 wasn’t headed to #Syria is in denial,” Bolton said on Twitter.

The Tartus naval facility in Syria is used by Russia to help support Moscow and Tehran ally President Bashar al-Assad in his ongoing eight-year war against armed opponents.