In a turn of events, determined not to give in to Iran’s sugar-coated promises, the US Justice Department has now issued a warrant for the seizure of the Iranian oil supertanker Grace 1, one day after a Gibraltar judge allowed the release of the detained vessel.
It was initially stated that because Grace 1 was assisting Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, all crewmembers onboard would be ineligible for visas or admission to the United States under the terrorism-related inadmissibility grounds.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards has been termed as a terrorist organization by the United States. Assisting the IRGC (Revolutionary Guard Corps) by transporting oil from Iran to Syria is considered as an act of international terrorism and therefore cancellation or withholding visas become legitimate for Washington. But Gibraltar court had decided to refute the claim and set free Grace 1 on the condition that Iran had promised it would adhere to the International laws and not supply oil to Syria.
However, the United States now holds for a legitimate seizure of the ship. Apparently, the ship is still anchored in the British Mediterranean territory.
As a way to get back, the US Justice Departments says it has issued a warrant, it is penalizing Iran for overlooking the role of the terrorist organization IRGC, in allegedly accessing US financial system to support illicit shipments to Syria from Iran. Reuter’s reports confirm that the warrant further states that all the oil aboard plus the $995,000, are subject to forfeiture based on violations of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), and bank fraud, money laundering, and terrorism forfeiture statutes.
If Grace-1 was released, the supertanker was supposed to be renamed and switch to the Iranian flag for its onward journey, the deputy head of Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization, Jalil Eslami, told Iranian state television. They had also promised to keep their side of the bargain, which Washington does not wish Britain to entertain and would rather have Downing Street toe the line.