The oil tanker, over two million barrels of oil and $995,000 are subject to forfeiture based on a complaint by the U.S. government, U.S. Attorney said in a news release on Friday.
The tanker was seized by British Royal Marines at the western mouth of the Mediterranean on July 4 on suspicion of violating European Union sanctions by taking oil to Syria, a close ally of Iran.Washington had attempted to detain Grace 1 on the grounds that it had links to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which it had defined as a terrorist organization.
However, on Thursday, August 15, the government in Gibraltar decided to release the tanker, because Tehran promised that it would no longer transport oil to Syria.
It is noted that the daily newspaper detected the movement of 70 Iranian tankers due to help of the MarineTraffic, Refinitiv and Planet Labs services. According to the investigation, when the sanctions came into effect after May 2, 2019, 14 tankers still continued exporting the oil to China and may also have gone to Syria and Turkey through the Suez Canal. Iran has transported more than 500,000 barrels since June.
It stands to mention that despite the fact that Iran keeps the oil supplies, Tehran reduced its export volumes.
The U.S. government declared the start of a new package of sanctions against a number of natural and legal persons in Iran due to nuclear program development in spring 2019.
Iran and international mediators came to an agreement relative to the country's nuclear program in 2015. Iran said it would drop it in exchange for the termination of the long-term sanctions regime.