Iran’s regime is sending a second tanker in defiance of US sanctions to Syria’s regime, according to an eye-popping report on the website of FoxNews.com on Tuesday.
“A tanker filled with Iranian oil is headed to Syria, in violation of American sanctions, Western intelligence sources tell Fox News,” wrote Fox News Middle East correspondent Trey Yingst.
The article reported that “The Bonita Queen loaded 600,000 barrels of crude oil on August 2 near the Iranian coast at Kharg Island.
Shortly after, the tanker was de-flagged by the country of St. Kitts and Nevis, fearing retaliatory U.S. sanctions.”
According to the report, “The vessel is now headed to Dubai, where it will refuel before beginning a months-long journey around the horn of Africa, through the Mediterranean and to the shores of Syria.”
The Fox News sources said that “ the ship plans to meet two Syrian owned oil tankers in the Mediterranean later this year and conduct a ship to ship transfer of the crude oil.”
The new attempt by the Islamic Republic of Iran to bust US sanctions on the Syrian regime comes on the heels of a court in the British territory of Gibraltor that rejected a request from the US not to release a seized Iranian tanker.
The British Royal Marines seized the Grace 1, now renamed Adrian Darya 1, last month because it was reportedly carrying its cargo of 2.1 million barrels of light crude oil to be delivered to Syria. The US had asked for the Grace 1 to be detained. After the British Royal Marines stopped the ship, Iran retaliated by seizing a British ship. Tensions have been rising in the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman since May when the US threatened retaliation if Iran attacked the US or US allies. Since then six tankers have been sabotaged and the US has sought to secure the Straits of Hormuz against threats with the aid of the UK and Bahrain. There has been increasing rhetoric from Iran and threats by IRGC fast boats, that could lead to conflict. A US drone was downed in June and the US contemplated air strikes.
Tehran denied that The Grace 1 planned to transfer oil to Syria.
Fox News wrote that the new “transfer would be an additional violation of American sanctions since the U.S. Treasury Department already sanctioned the two Syrian tankers in March of this year. The tankers, named the Kader and the Jasmine, are both scheduled to meet the Bonita Queen to assist with the transfer.”
In addition to alleged breaking of US energy sanctions on Tehran’s critical export of oil, Iran’s cash-starved regime has utilized an array of sanctions-busting schemes over the years to procure illicit nuclear and chemical goods.
The Jerusalem Post reported, in June, that Germany’s federal intelligence said on Thursday in its new report on security threats that Iran’s regime worked to obtain equipment for its nuclear program that could be used for weapons of mass destruction.
The Post reported, in July, that a German intelligence report from the city-state of Hamburg said Iran’s regime is continuing to seek weapons of mass destruction.
Benjamin Weinthal is a European correspondent at The Jerusalem Post and a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.