The Iran-flagged Adrian Darya 1, previously named Grace 1, set course for Kalamata, Greece, with an estimated arrival on Aug. 25, according to ship tracking service MarineTraffic. It wasn’t immediately clear why the tanker would be heading there or whether the destination could change.
The vessel left Gibraltar late on Sunday after having been detained for a month in the British overseas territory for allegedly attempting to breach European Union sanctions on Syria. Gibraltar authorities rejected attempts by the U.S. to seize the oil tanker again, arguing that EU regulations are less strict than U.S. sanctions on Iran. And Tehran on Monday warned Washington against any effort to grab the vessel again.
The Financial Times reports that “As the Iranian tanker seized last month by British commandos finally set sail from Gibraltar, the Islamic republic was in a triumphalist and defiant mood. Iran’s state-run television on Monday broadcast images of the vessel flying the national flag while hailing the Islamic republic’s “victory” over the US and UK.
The judiciary said it would seek compensation to “deliver a lesson” to those who may attempt to apprehend another Iranian ship. And the foreign ministry warned of “heavy consequences” if the US seized the Grace 1, renamed the Adrian Darya 1, as the tanker headed towards Greece.”
Sky News Political Editor argues that the seizure of the Grace 1 oil tanker was a major embarrassment for Iran, springing from a navigational gamble that did not pay off. Its release allows the Iranians to save some face but the saga goes on.
Abdulaziz Kilani editor-in-chief of Sharq Wa Gharb comments about the saga, saying that the seizure of the Adrian Darya-1 marked the moment when the UK became directly involved in the ongoing U.S.-Iran conflict. It was clear that Tehran would not remain silent. So when Gibraltar extended the tanker’s detention last month, the Iranians responded and seized the British-flagged tanker Stena Impero, putting the UK government under pressure to respond. In his analysis, he reviews how will this issue impacts the role of the UK in the US-Iran issue, within the context of a new role for Britain, post BREXIT.
“It’s no surprise that the Trump administration opposed releasing Adrian Darya-1. But its opposition increases pressure on London. At a time when Johnson is about to lead the UK out of the EU on Oct. 31, Britain in increasingly dependent on support from the U.S. A UK-U.S. trade deal is key to the UK’s post-Brexit plans, and Johnson would want to minimize tensions between Downing Street and the White House. However, he also does not want to risk the UK becoming embroiled in an unwanted U.S.-Iran conflict.”
He adds “Despite her determination to deliver Brexit, Theresa May felt able to disagree with the US on the Iran deal and climate change. Trump was often critical of her. Trump is full of praise for her successor. There is a real danger that Boris will deliver whatever Trump asks, because if Brexit happens the UK will be isolated and desperate for a trade deal with the U.S.,” Clare Short, a former International Development Secretary in the Labour government led by Tony Blair, told LobeLog. “It is very interesting that the Gibraltar courts have made a decision independent of UK influence. This has clearly annoyed the US.”