Greek authorities have not received notification that the Iranian oil tanker, which was seized by Britain for a month but was released from Gibraltar on Sunday (Aug. 18) night, was heading to Kalamata port in southern Greece, Greek media reported on Monday.
Athens is following the case closely and until the vessel reaches Greek waters on Aug. 25, as estimated, if she will not change course, there is plenty of time for consultations, sources from the Greek Shipping and Greek Foreign Affairs ministries told “Proto Thema” (Top Story), according to a report.
Kalamata’s port is not suitable to handle such large tankers like “Adrian Darya 1” (renamed from Grace 1), the same sources said.
Iran cannot be very transparent about the transport of its oil because of the U.S. sanctions, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Monday during a visit to Finland, when he was asked to comment on media reports that the ship is going to Greece to offload its cargo.
The oil tanker was detained on suspicion of attempting to carry oil to Syria “in breach of EU sanctions,” charges denied by the Iranian government.
Gibraltar authorities have rejected a U.S. request to detain the vessel further, saying that they had received assurances that the tanker’s cargo would not be taken to Syria.
US warns Athens
Diplomatic fever between Washington and Athens is triggered by reports that on August 25, the Iranian tanker Grace 1, renamed Adrian Darya, will sail off Kalamata.
According to international media reports, a US State Department official has warned Athens that any aid to the Iranian Grace 1 tanker during its trip to Syria could be considered as providing material support to a terrorist organization.
It is clarified that, at present, there is no official demo or posting and that the news broadcast relates to background information from officials in the background in view of the likely arrival of an Iranian tanker on the Messinian coast.
Iran is warning the US of countermeasures should US forces attempt to halt the ship’s course.
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