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Iran Says Oil From Disputed Tanker Pursued By U.S. Sold To Unnamed Buyer


An Iranian flag flies on the oil tanker Adrian Darya 1, previously named Grace 1, as it sits anchored after authorities in the British territory lifted their detention order in mid-August.

Iran says it has sold the oil from an Iranian-flagged supertanker at the center of a standoff between Tehran and Washington.

Government spokesman Ali Rabiei told a news conference in Tehran on August 26 that the owner of the oil will decide the ship's ultimate destination.

The spokesman did not identify the buyer.

Data from Refinitiv Eikon, an industry source of data on tanker traffic, indicates that the Adrian Darya 1, formerly known as Grace 1, is no longer recorded as heading for Turkey, its indicated destination at the weekend.

The tanker is sought by the United States as it sails through the Mediterranean Sea with 2.1 million barrels of crude oil, worth some $130 million.

The vessel was seized on July 4 by British Royal Marines off Gibraltar, suspected of transporting oil to Syria in violation of European Union sanctions.

It was allowed to leave the British territory on August 19 after giving local authorities assurances it would not travel on to Syria.

But the United States wants to detain the ship again on the grounds it has links to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), an organization sanctioned by Washington.

Tensions between Tehran and Washington have increased since the United States last year withdrew from the 2015 international deal under which Iran agreed to rein in its nuclear activities in return for an easing of sanctions

The United States has since reimposed crippling sanctions on the Iranian economy, and Iran began reducing some of its commitments under the nuclear accord.

Several incidents in the Persian Gulf this year have exacerbated tensions further.

On August 26, Iran’s media reported that the country had deployed its “most advanced” naval destroyer to the Gulf of Aden, which connects the Indian Ocean to the Persian Gulf, to provide security for Iranian ships travelling through the region.

The ship carries long-range cruise missile systems and will be accompanied by a logistical vessel and a helicopter carrier, according to state-run Press TV.

The move comes two days after Britain announced was sending a third warship to the Persian Gulf, which sees around one-fifth of international oil shipments, to defend freedom of navigation there.

The United States has called for an international effort to escort vessels to defend commercial shipping interests in the region against harassment and illegal interference.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and Press TV
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