US President Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton has tweeted what appears to be a satellite image of the Adrian Darya 1 tanker, with the image showing the ship loitering approximately two nautical miles off the coast of the Tartus naval facility in the Mediterranean Sea in western Syria.
Anyone who said the Adrian Darya-1 wasn’t headed to #Syria is in denial. Tehran thinks it’s more important to fund the murderous Assad regime than provide for its own people. We can talk, but #Iran’s not getting any sanctions relief until it stops lying and spreading terror! pic.twitter.com/saar05T8wt
— John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) September 6, 2019
In the tweet, Bolton accused those who believed the tanker wasn’t going to Syria of being “in denial,” and claimed that Iran “thinks it’s more important to fund the murderous Assad regime than provide for its own people.”
“We can talk, but #Iran’s not getting any sanctions relief until it stops lying and spreading terror!” Bolton added.
Bolton’s remarks followed reports earlier this week that the Adrian Darya 1 had been travelling somewhere between Cyprus and Syria, with its transponder turned off and its exact location unknown, amid US threats to sanction any regional country where the ship docked.
The US has repeatedly accused Iran of planning to ‘go back on’ its alleged commitment not to allow the tanker, previously known as the Grace 1, to sail to Syria following its release from detention in Gibraltar last month. However, Iranian authorities have insisted that Tehran never gave any guarantees that its tanker would not head to the war-torn country.
State Department ‘Swagger’ Means Offering Bribes
Four days before the US imposed sanctions on an Iranian tanker suspected of shipping oil to Syria, the vessel’s Indian captain received an unusual email from the top Iran official at the Department of State.This is Brian Hook . . . I work for secretary of state Mike Pompeo and serve as the US Representative for Iran,” Mr Hook wrote to Akhilesh Kumar on August 26, according to several emails seen by the Financial Times. “I am writing with good news.”
The “good news” was that the Trump administration was offering Mr Kumar several million dollars to pilot the ship — until recently known as the Grace 1 — to a country that would impound the vessel on behalf of the US. To make sure Mr Kumar did not mistake the email for a scam, it included an official state department phone number.
As the captain did not agree to be bribed the U.S. sanctioned him. The ship now sits off the Syrian coast and is unloading its 2 million barrels of oil. That will be enough for three month of Syria’s consumption.
Farsnews notes that this was not the first time the U.S. tried to bribe and pressure tanker captains:
Hook, who heads the state department’s Iran Action Group, has emailed or texted roughly a dozen captains in recent months in an effort to scare mariners into understanding that helping Iran evade sanctions comes at a heavy price.
No one fell for it. The Iranian ship captains are obviously patriots who do not take bribes from the enemies of their country.
Brian Hook has a really lousy job and zero success in it.
Source: Moon of Alabama