U.S. Threatens Visa Bans For Crew Of Freed Iranian Oil Supertanker

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The United States says the crew of an Iranian supertanker whose departure Washington apparently was unable to block from Gibraltar could be subject to a U.S. visa ban.

State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus on August 15 said the Grace1 was assisting Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), which Washington deems a “terrorist organization.”

“This could result in serious consequences for any individuals associated with the Grace1,” Ortagus said.

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People watch the Iranian oil supertanker Grace 1 (C) in the Strait of Gibraltar, southern Spain

She added that members of the crew “may be ineligible for visas or admission to the United States under the terrorism-related inadmissibility grounds.”

“The United States will continue to use all the tools at its disposal to deny Iran and its proxies the resources they need to engage in malign and destabilizing activities in Syria and elsewhere. This includes the full enforcement of U.S. sanctions with respect to Iran and the IRGC,” her statement said.

Earlier reports said the Grace1 carried 28 personnel, mainly Indian, Pakistani, and Ukrainian nationals.

The comments came after Gibraltar said it had decided to free the supertanker that had been detained off the British overseas territory six weeks ago by Royal Marines, despite a last-minute attempt by the United States to seize the vessel.

The decision to release the tanker came despite an attempt by Washington to seize the tanker.

The Grace1 was detained on suspicion it was smuggling oil to Syria in breach of European Union sanctions.

Gibraltar Chief Minister Fabian Picardo on August 15 lifted the detention order after formal written assurances from Tehran that the ship will not discharge its more than 2 million barrels of oil in Syria.

After the decision by the Gibraltar authorities, Britain’s Foreign Office warned Iran to abide by the assurances it had given that led to the release of the supertanker.

It said Britain would not allow Tehran or anyone else to bypass European Union sanctions meant to punish Syria for using chemical weapons against its own people.

It was not immediately clear when the Grace 1 would sail or if it had already departed Gibraltar territorial waters.


Via BBC/Bloomberg/ CBS/ Gibraltar Chronicle/ US State Department

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