Greece has reportedly refused to allow the passage of Iranian oil tanker Adrian Darya I that was headed towards the port of Kalamata in Greece. The tanker had previously been detained by Gibraltar authorities who let it go after lifting its detention on 15th August.
Greece’s decision comes in the aftermath of the United States’ Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s warning that any country that facilitated in the passage of the tanker would be sanctioned. Addressing the media, Pompeo said, “We have made clear that anyone who touches it, anyone who supports it, anyone who allows a ship to dock is at risk of receiving sanctions from the United States”.
Meanwhile, speaking to local reporters, Miltiadis Varvitsiotis, Greece’s deputy foreign minister said, “(Greece was) not willing to facilitate the course of this ship to Syria”. Varvitsiotis also added that despite the US administration forcing his government’s hands, the size of the tanker, too, made it difficult to dock in Greek ports.
The US has alleged that the vessel is transporting crude to Syria, which is currently under sanctions, from Iran. However, the Islamic Republic has denied these allegations. The vessel is said to be carrying around two million barrels of crude.
Earlier, the US had issued a warrant for the tanker to be seized but Gibraltar refused to accept the warrant on the grounds of them being bound by the European Union’s naval rules.