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Iran Says Oil Aboard Released Tanker 'Has Been Sold'

An Iranian flag flutters on board the Adrian Darya oil tanker, formerly known as Grace 1, off the coast of Gibraltar on August 18, 2019.

Iran says the cargo of an oil tanker released from detention in Gibraltar earlier this month “has been sold and the buyer will determine the destination of the vessel”.

The spokesman of President Hassan Rouhani’s administration, Ali Rabiee in a routine briefing with journalists on Monday added that “the buyer will decide how and where to take the oil and will not consult with us”.

Rabiee did not mention any other details about the “buyer” or when the two million barrels of oil on Adrian Darya-1 was sold.

The vessel was called Grace-1 before it was detained with British assistance by Gibraltar on July 4 and released in August. The ship was suspected of carrying oil for refineries in Syria, which are sanctioned by the EU and therefore the vessel could be in breach of EU laws.

The United States objected to Gibraltar’s decision to release the re-named vessel and later warned all countries and the private sector not to assist Adrian Darya-1, which it said is connected with Iranian entities under U.S. sanctions.

Since its release the Iranian tanker has been wandering in the Mediterranean with no clear destination. Greece and Turkey have were mentioned as possible ports of call but later some reports said the vessel was moving toward the Suez Canal, although it might have a technical issue with passing through the relatively shallow waterway.

Two weeks after the detention of the tanker Iran seized a British-flagged oil tanker near the Persian Gulf and is keeping the vessel at one of its ports.