August 21, 2019 / 5:48 AM / a month ago

Iranian news agency says tanker leased to shipping firms

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran’s semi-official ILNA news agency said on Wednesday the Adrian Darya 1 tanker, which was released after being detained in Gibraltar, is currently leased to an Iranian shipping company.

The United States has issued a warrant to seize the tanker on the grounds that it had links to Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards, which it designates as a terrorist organisation.

“The Grace 1 vessel, renamed Adrian Darya after the seizure, is a Korean-made oil tanker owned by Russia which is currently leased to one of Iran’s shipping lines,” ILNA said in a correction, after saying earlier the tanker was leased to the Revolutionary Guards.

The comment came in an ILNA interview with the head of the Revolutionary Guards’ navy, Alireza Tangsiri.

“The Adrian Darya vessel needs no escort,” Tangsiri told ILNA.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned on Tuesday that the United States would take every action it could to prevent the tanker sailing in the Mediterranean from delivering oil to Syria in contravention of U.S. sanctions. Iran has denied the tanker was ever headed to Syria.

Separately, Iran said on Wednesday that an Iranian oil tanker has broken down in the Red Sea but the crew are safe and repairs are underway.

The report identified the disabled tanker as HELM. A vessel with the same name is on a list of individuals, companies and vessels that are subject to U.S. sanctions, according to the U.S. Treasury’s website.

(ILNA officially corrects report to say tanker leased to an Iranian shipping company, not Revolutionary Guards)

Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Paul Tait and Hugh Lawson

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