US Threatens Sanctions to Anyone Who ‘Touches’ Iran Oil Tanker

State Dept: Buying oil would count as 'support for terrorism'

US State Department officials have issued a flurry of statements regarding Iran’s oil tanker the Adrian Darya 1, which left Gibraltar and is reportedly en route to Greece. US officials are warning that they will sanction anyone who touches the tanker.

The US is angry because they were trying to convince Gibraltar to give the tanker, and the oil, to them, though Gibraltar rejected this effort. Mike Pompeo threatened US action if the ship tried to get to Syria, but officials are also unhappy with the idea of them going to Greece, as Iranian officials have indicated.

Indeed, the whole reason Gibraltar released the tanker was that it was going to Greece, not Syria, and that there are no EU laws to preclude that. The US, however, says they will treat this as “support for terrorism” on Greece’s part.

Greek officials say they haven’t had any specific requests for the tanker to dock yet. That’s not to say it isn’t going to, and it’s likely that the tanker would be selling the oil to a private EU company. Under the P5+1 nuclear deal, European companies are free to buy from Iran, though in practice many have feared US punishment too much to do so.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.