Britain summons Iranian ambassador after oil tanker offloads in Syria

The Adrian Darya-1 unloaded its oil in Syria despite Iran giving reassurances that the vessel would not. (Satellite image Maxar Technologies via AP)
Updated 10 September 2019

Britain summons Iranian ambassador after oil tanker offloads in Syria

  • Britain said Iran had unloaded in Syria despite giving reassurances that it would not
  • The vessel, formerly named Grace 1, was seized by British Royal Marine commandos on July 4

LONDON: Britain said Iran had sold the oil cargo of tanker Adrian Darya 1 to Syria, breaking assurances it had given over the vessel which had been detained in Gibraltar for a suspected breach of European Union sanctions.
The vessel, formerly named Grace 1, was seized by British Royal Marine commandos on July 4 on suspicion of being en route to Syria.
Gibraltar released it on Aug. 15 after receiving formal written assurances from Tehran that the ship would not discharge its 2.1 million barrels of oil in Syria.
But Britain's foreign office said in a statement on Tuesday it was clear Iran had breached those assurances and that the oil had been transferred to Syria.
"Iran has shown complete disregard for its own assurances over Adrian Darya 1," foreign minister Dominic Raab said in the statement.
"This sale of oil to (Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's) brutal regime is part of a pattern of behaviour by the Government of Iran designed to disrupt regional security."
Britain said it had summoned the Iranian Ambassador to condemn Iran’s actions and would raise the issue at the United Nations later this month.
"Iran’s actions represent an unacceptable violation of international norms," the statement said


Lebanese block roads as protests enter fourth month

Updated 35 min 46 sec ago

Lebanese block roads as protests enter fourth month

  • The protest movement rocking Lebanon since October 17
  • The protest movement is in part fueled by the worst economic crisis

BEIRUT: Protesters blocked several main roads across Lebanon on Friday as unprecedented demonstrations against a political elite accused of corruption and incompetence entered their fourth month.
The protest movement rocking Lebanon since October 17 has resurged this week, over delays in forming a new cabinet to address the country’s growing economic crisis.
No progress seemed to have been made on a final lineup, which protesters demand be made up solely of independent experts and empty of traditional political parties.
In central Beirut, dozens of protesters Friday stood between parked cars blocking a key thoroughfare linking the city’s east and west.
“We blocked the road with cars because it’s something they can’t move,” Marwan Karam said.
The protester condemned what he regarded as efforts to form yet another government representing the usual carve-up of power between the traditional parties.
“We don’t want a government of masked political figures,” the 30-year-old told AFP. “Any such government will fall. We won’t give it any chance in the street.”
Forming a new cabinet is often a drawn-out process in Lebanon, where a complex system seeks to maintain balance between the various political parties and a multitude of religious confessions.
Nearby, Carlos Yammine, 32, said he did not want yet another “cake-sharing government.”
“What we have asked for from the start of the movement is a reduced, transitional, emergency government of independents,” he said, leaning against his car.


Elsewhere, demonstrators closed roads including in Lebanon’s second city of Tripoli, though some were later reopened, the National News Agency said.
The protest movement is in part fueled by the worst economic crisis that Lebanon has witnessed since its 1975-1990 civil war.
The protests this week saw angry demonstrators attack banks following the imposition of sharp curbs on cash withdrawals to stem a liquidity crisis.
On Thursday night, protesters vandalized three more banks in the capital’s Hamra district, smashing their glass fronts and graffitiing ATMs, an AFP photographer said.
Earlier, Lebanon’s security services released most of the 100-plus protesters detained over the previous 48 hours, lawyers said.
Human Rights Watch on Friday condemned the arrests and the response of security forces to protests outside a police station on Wednesday night demanding detainees be released.
“The unacceptable level of violence against overwhelmingly peaceful protesters on January 15 calls for a swift independent and transparent investigation,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at the rights watchdog.
Over the past few months, the Lebanese pound — long pegged to the US dollar at 1,507 — has fallen in value on the unofficial market to around 2,500.
The World Bank has warned that the poverty rate in Lebanon could rise from a third to a half if the political crisis is not remedied fast.