GIBRALTAR (Reuters) – The United States has issued an arrest warrant for an Iranian oil tanker trapped in the stalemate between Tehran and the West to prevent the ship from leaving Gibraltar.
The name of Iranian oil tanker Grace 1 is considered to be removed as it is anchored after the UK Supreme Court annulled its detention order on 16 August 2019 in the Strait of Gibraltar, southern Spain. REUTERS / Jon Nazca  The Grace 1 was seized by British Royal Marines at the western mouth of the Mediterranean on 4 July for suspecting that it was violating European Union sanctions by bringing oil to Syria.
Gibraltar lifted the arrest warrant on Thursday after the British Prime Minister wrote in writing that the cargo would not go to Syria.
With the ship and its 2.1 million barrels of oil free, the United States has filed a separate legal remedy to confiscate the ship for alleged links to its designated Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Iran has a terrorist organization.
A federal court in Washington issued a warrant to confiscate the tanker, the oil it contains, and nearly a million dollars.
"A network of front companies has allegedly laundered millions of dollars to support such supplies," US District Attorney Jessie Liu said in a press release.
"The system involves several parties affiliated to the IRGC and supported by the misleading travels of Grace 1."
The Department of State did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the arrest warrant addressed to them, "The United States Marshal's Service and / or another duly authorized law enforcement officer" may be enforced.
The Pentagon declined to comment, as did the UK Foreign Office.
Asked about the US intervention on Friday, Prime Minister Gibraltar's Fabian Picardo said that this would be the responsibility of the Supreme Court of Gibraltar. "It could absolutely go back to court."
The Gibraltar Chronicle newspaper reported that it was unlikely that the ship would sail before Sunday, citing an unnamed source, adding that it was awaiting the arrival of six new crew members, including a captain.
The name of Grace 1 was deleted and it no longer blew under the flag of Panama.
Iranian state television had quoted Jalil Eslami, deputy head of the country's maritime and maritime organization, as saying that the Iran-flagged tanker would leave for the Mediterranean and rename Adrian Darya.
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