US message to Greece on Iranian tanker; no request to dock yet

Greece has not received a formal request concerning an Iranian oil tanker released from Gibraltar, the shipping minister told SKAI television, implying that Athens will not officially take a position until the ship has clarified its intentions.

Minister Yiannis Plakiotakis noted that the Greek authorities are closely following the course of Adrian Darya 1 (formerly Grace 1) and that his office is in regular contact with the foreign ministry.

The case of the Iranian tanker is diplomatically thorny for Greece, as the United States views the ship as an instrument of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, which they have described as a terrorist organization.

Washington has warned Athens and other Mediterranean nations that any docking at any port would be tantamount to assisting the Guards, according to State Department officials leaks.

The sale of the oil carried by the Iranian tanker would help finance the Iranian armed forces, which “sow terror and destruction and kill Americans worldwide,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.

Based on existing data, the tanker is expected to reach the Peloponnese next Sunday, but the Greek government’s decision time may come sooner, as the request for a call must be sent at least 48 hours in advance.

The US has put in place a sanctions mechanism for anyone who buys Iranian oil. Greece halted purchases last summer, within the specific deadline Washington had set for eight countries.

The tanker set sail from Gibraltar on Sunday after a month’s detention. It was released after Iran pledged that the oil shipment would not end up in Syria, which is subject to European sanctions.

The US has tried to prevent the tanker from being released, while a spokesman for the Iranian ministry warned that further actions on board would pose a threat to free shipping on the high seas.

The route of the tanker can be modified. Iran has not clarified what its final destination is.