U.S. Threatens Visa Restrictions For Crew Of Freed Iranian Oil Supertanker

The United States says the crew of an Iranian supertanker whose departure from Gibraltar Washington apparently was unable to block could be subject to a U.S. visa ban, Radio Free Europe informed.

State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus on August 15 said the Grace 1 was assisting Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), which Washington deems a terrorist organization.

“This could result in serious consequences for any individuals associated with the Grace 1,” Ortagus said.

She added that members of the crew “may be ineligible for visas or admission to the United States under the terrorism-related inadmissibility grounds.”

“The United States will continue to use all the tools at its disposal to deny Iran and its proxies the resources they need to engage in malign and destabilizing activities in Syria and elsewhere. This includes the full enforcement of U.S. sanctions with respect to Iran and the IRGC,” her statement said.

Earlier reports said the Grace 1 carried 28 personnel, mainly Indian, Pakistani, and Ukrainian nationals. The comments came after Gibraltar said it had decided to free the supertanker that had been detained off the British overseas territory six weeks ago by Royal Marines, despite a last-minute attempt by the United States to seize the vessel.

The Grace 1 was detained on suspicion it was smuggling oil to Syria in breach of European Union sanctions.

Gibraltar Chief Minister Fabian Picardo on August 15 lifted the detention order after formal written assurances from Tehran that the ship will not discharge its more than 2 million barrels of oil in Syria.

“In light of the assurances we have received, there are no longer any reasonable grounds for the continued legal detention of the Grace 1 in order to ensure compliance with the EU Sanctions Regulation,” Picardo said.

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