Oct. 9 (UPI) — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on the European Union Wednesday to condemn Iran for delivering some 2.1 million barrels of crude oil to Syria after reassuring Britain it would not do so.
The Adrian Darya 1, formerly known as Grace 1, was captured by British forces off Gibraltar in July on suspicion that it was en route to deliver its cargo to Syria, in violation of EU sanctions. The vessel was released in August following reassurances from Iran that its 66,000 gallons of oil weren’t destined for the embattled Middle Eastern country.
Last month, Britain accused Iran of reneging on its word, saying it had sold the oil to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Tehran acknowledged it had sold the oil, but did not say to whom.
“Oil from the Adrian Darya 1 has been offloaded to Syria, proving that Iran lied to the UK and Gibraltar,” Pompeo said in the Tweet. “This terrorist oil will fund Assad’s war and Iran’s sectarian violence.”
A surveillance photo dated Oct. 2 accompanied the tweet purporting to show the vessel off Syria’s Baniyas coast delivering the oil to another ship named Jasmine.
A second photo dated Oct. 4 shows Jasmine moored near the coast in the Baniyas Port and Refinery’s discharge area.
“EU members should condemn this action, hold the rule of law and hold Iran accountable,” Pompeo said.
The United States has been conducting a “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran to force it back to the negotiating table over its nuclear program. Tensions between the two countries have been high since the Trump administration last year slapped sanctions against Tehran and pulled out of a landmark multination nuclear deal with the Middle Eastern country aimed at preventing it from acquiring a nuclear weapon.