After weeks of controversy surrounding an Iranian oil tanker, Britain summoned the Islamic Republic’s ambassador to protest a clear breach of the assurances that were given by Tehran in August that the oil cargo of the Adrian Darya 1 would not be delivered to Syria.
“Iran has shown a complete disregard for its own assurances over the Adrian Darya 1,” UK Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said in a statement, adding, “The sale of oil to a brutal regime is part of a pattern of behaviour by the Government of Iran that is designed to disrupt regional security. We want Iran to come in from the cold, but the only way to do that is to keep its word and comply with the rules-based international system.”
The Adrian Darya 1, formerly named the Grace 1, was seized by Royal Marine commandos on 4 July after British intelligence determined that the vessel was attempting to violate an international embargo against the Iranian and Russian-backed regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.
Gibraltar, the British Overseas Territory located between Spain and Morocco, released the ship on 15 August after receiving formal written assurances from Tehran that it would not discharge its 2.1 million barrels of oil in Syria.
Following the vessel’s release, the US warned any state against assisting the ship, saying it would consider that support, including allowing the Adrian Darya 1 to dock in a port, as aiding and abetting Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a group that has been designated as a terrorist organisation.
The Americans’ warning is part of an overall strategy to bring Iran to heel after the Trump administration withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and the between Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council—China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States, and Germany) after the Islamic Republic continued to act as the main sponsor of terrorist organisations in Lebanon, Gaza, Iraq, and Yemen.
Britain said that its condemnation of Iran’s actions would also be raised at the United Nations later this month.
In response to the UK’s decision to formally condemn Iran’s actions, a spokeswoman for the US State Department said, “As we have warned all along, the Iranian regime has once again reneged on its assurances to the international community about its intentions to transport illicit oil to the murderous Assad regime.”
Tehran under pressure for centrifuge installation
Iran’s theocratic government came under further scrutiny on 9 September following a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency which confirmed that the Islamic Republic had installed advanced next-generation IR-4, IR-5 and IR-6 centrifuges, moving the regime a step closer to producing enriched uranium, a move that would see it openly breach the 2015 nuclear deal.
The Iranian government has openly attempted to strongarm Europe into saving the nuclear deal, known officially as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, by demanding that the EU stick to their economic commitments of the agreement, despite the new round of American sanctions that could automatically target European businesses if they continue to do business with Iran.
Despite the complications that the Adrian Darya 1 case presents for the Islamic Republic, Tehran is optimistic that Europe, either through the Paris-based INSTEX special purpose vehicle or another sanctions-busting mechanism, will help Iran continue to have access to the international oil market.