US blacklists Iranian oil tanker Adrian Darya I

In this file photo taken on August 18, 2019 an Iranian flag flutters on board the Adrian Darya oil tanker, formerly known as Grace 1, off the coast of Gibraltar. (AFP / Johnny Bugeja)
Updated 31 August 2019

US blacklists Iranian oil tanker Adrian Darya I

  • Anyone providing support to the Adrian Darya 1 risks being sanctioned, says US Treasury Department
  • The tanker has been bouncing around the Mediterranean with its cargo of 2.1 million barrels of crude

WASHINGTON: The United States on Friday sanctioned an Iranian oil tanker previously held for weeks by Gibraltar and released despite Washington’s efforts to keep it detained.
The US Department of Treasury said the vessel, previously known as the Grace 1, is “blocked property” under an anti-terrorist order, and “anyone providing support to the Adrian Darya 1 risks being sanctioned.”
Tensions between Tehran and Washington have risen since US President Donald Trump withdrew from a landmark 2015 nuclear deal between major powers and Iran last year and reimposed crippling unilateral sanctions.
Two weeks ago, the United States threatened a visa ban on the crew of the tanker.
Washington says the vessel is carrying crude ultimately benefiting Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, which it has listed as a terrorist organization.
“Vessels like the Adrian Darya 1 enable the IRGC-QF to ship and transfer large volumes of oil, which they attempt to mask and sell illicitly to fund the regime’s malign activities and propagate terrorism,” said Sigal Mandelker, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.
Treasury said the Adrian Darya’s captain, Akhilesh Kumar, is also sanctioned under the order, which generally prohibits dealings with the blocked property by US persons.
“In addition, persons that engage in certain transactions with the individuals and entities designated today may themselves be exposed to sanctions or subject to an enforcement action,” Treasury said.
Faced with the US warnings, the tanker has been bouncing around the Mediterranean with its cargo of 2.1 million barrels of crude.

Decoder

Adrian Darya I

It is an Iranian oil tanker previously registered under Panamanian flag and named Grace 1. In July 2019, it was seized by authorities in Gibraltar in compliance with US sanctions. Washington contended that the vessel's crude oil cargo would ultimately benefit Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, which it has listed as a terrorist organization. After a Gibraltar court eventually released the tanker in mid-August, the owner changed its name to Adrian Darya I.


US sanctions Iran minister over Internet censorship

Updated 22 November 2019

US sanctions Iran minister over Internet censorship

  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin: We are sanctioning Iran’s Minister of Information and Communications Technology for restricting Internet access
  • Mnuchin: Iran’s leaders know that a free and open Internet exposes their illegitimacy, so they seek to censor Internet access to quell anti-regime protests

WASHINGTON: The US Treasury slapped punitive sanctions on Iran’s communications minister, Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, Friday after the Tehran regime blocked Internet communications amid violent protests triggered by a petrol price hike.
“We are sanctioning Iran’s Minister of Information and Communications Technology for restricting Internet access, including to popular messaging applications that help tens of millions of Iranians stay connected to each other and the outside world,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a statement.
“Iran’s leaders know that a free and open Internet exposes their illegitimacy, so they seek to censor Internet access to quell anti-regime protests,” Mnuchin said.
The protests erupted across the country on November 15, after the price of petrol was raised by as much as 200 percent.
Officials have confirmed five deaths, while Amnesty International said that more than 100 demonstrators were believed to have been killed after authorities reportedly used live ammunition to quell the protests, which brought attacks on police stations and petrol stations and some looting of shops.
The Treasury said Azari Jahomi is a former official of the Ministry of Intelligence who has advanced Internet censorship since becoming minister two years ago.
He has “also been involved in surveillance against opposition activists,” the Treasury said.
Internet service remained mostly blocked on Friday for a sixth day, with officials and news agencies saying the blackout was gradually being rolled back.
The sanctions would freeze financial assets and property Azari Jahomi has in US jurisdictions and forbid Americans or US businesses, especially banks, from dealing with him.
On Thursday, President Donald Trump accused Iran of blocking the Internet to cover up “death and tragedy” resulting from the protests.
“Iran has become so unstable that the regime has shut down their entire Internet System so that the Great Iranian people cannot talk about the tremendous violence taking place within the country,” Trump tweeted.
“They want ZERO transparency, thinking the world will not find out the death and tragedy that the Iranian Regime is causing!” he wrote.