FILE PHOTO: The Iranian flag flies on board the Iranian oil tanker Adrian Darya 1, formerly named Grace 1, as it sits anchored after the Supreme Court of the British territory lifted its detention order, in the Strait of Gibraltar, Spain, August 18, 2019. REUTERS/Jon Nazca
DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran’s semi-official ILNA news agency said on Wednesday the tanker Adrian Darya 1, which was released after being detained in Gibraltar, is currently leased to the country’s elite Revolutionary Guards.
The United States has issued a warrant to seize the tanker on the grounds that it had links to the Revolutionary Guards C (IRGC), which it designates as a terrorist organization.
“It is worth noting that the Grace 1 vessel, renamed Adrian Darya after the seizure, is a Korean-made oil tanker owned by Russia which is currently leased to the Revolutionary Guards,” ILNA said, without citing a source.
The comment came in an ILNA interview with the head of the Revolutionary Guards’ navy, Alireza Tangsiri.
“The Adrian Darya vessel needs no escort,” Tangsiri told ILNA, in an apparent show of defiance.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned on Tuesday that the United States would take every action it could to prevent the tanker sailing in the Mediterranean from delivering oil to Syria in contravention of U.S. sanctions. Iran has denied the tanker was ever headed to Syria.
Separately, Iran said on Wednesday that an Iranian oil tanker has broken down in the Red Sea but the crew are safe and repairs are underway.
The report identified the disabled tanker as HELM. A vessel with the same name is on a list of individuals, companies and vessels that are subject to U.S. sanctions, according to the U.S. Treasury’s website.
Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Paul Tait and Hugh Lawson