The Iranian oil tanker Adrian Darya 1 that was taken over by Royal Marines in July on suspicion that it was bound for Syria is now located off the Syrian coast.
The Adrian Darya-1 – formerly known as Grace 1 – was released by Gibraltar authorities on August 15, after Tehran offered assurances that the ship will not make its way to Syria because the Assad regime is under an EU oil embargo.
After the Iranian vessel left Gibraltar, US authorities issued a warrant seeking to blacklist the vessel and blacklist any country that offered it aid. Last week, US media sources suggested that the captain of the vessel was offered millions of dollars to lead the ship in a location where US authorities could seize it.
However, satellite images released on Saturday suggest that the supertanker is now close to the Syrian port of Tartus. It is not clear that the vessel if offloading its 2,1 million barrels cargo directly or onto another vessel.
Washington has warned that any state assisting the ship will be accused of support towards a terrorist organisation, namely, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (RGC). The EU 28 have not followed Washington in listing Iran’s RGC as a terrorist organization.
However, the detection of Adrian Darya 1 off the coast of Syria, despite assurances that the oil would not be delivered to the Assad regime, could realign the position of Euro-Atlantic partners vis-à-vis Tehran.
Iran’s nuclear chief, Ali Akbar Salehi, warned on Sunday that European parties to the 2015 nuclear deal have failed to fulfil their commitments, which included relief from economic sanctions in exchange for verifiable denuclearization measures. “The deal is not a one-way street and Iran will act accordingly as we have done so far by gradually downgrading our commitments,” Ali Akbar Salehi said.
In a meeting with the head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog (IAEA), Cornel Feruta, on Sunday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made clear that Paragraph 36 of the 2015 accord provides scope for Tehran to cut its commitments if others do not live up to theirs.
Since May, Iran has begun to breach caps on its nuclear capacity set by the deal in retaliation for U.S. oil and trade sanctions. On Saturday, Tehran said it was capable of raising uranium enrichment past the 20% — against the 4,5% threshold of fissile purity envisaged by the deal – and has launched advanced centrifuge machines.
The development of a nuclear bomb requires 90% enrichment. Iran continues to claim that its nuclear program is exclusively aimed at civilian purposes.
Iran is ready to once again fully comply with the agreement if it secures an agreement with France on a proposed €13.6bn credit line, to be repaid once it resumed oil exports. The US has not categorically rejected the idea.