TEHRAN (defapress)- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif lashed out at the US for attempts to blackmail the Indian captain of Iran's oil tanker Adrian Darya 1, after failure in piracy against the vessel.
News ID: 78601
Publish Date: 05September 2019 - 17:52
“Having failed at piracy, the US resorts to outright blackmail - deliver us Iran’s oil and receive several million dollars or be sanctioned yourself,” Zarif wrote on his Twitter page on Wednesday.
Zarif said the US was setting a pattern in its policy of baits and threats as he himself was invited to meet with the president at the White House just weeks before the Trump administration placed sanctions on him.
“Sounds very similar to the Oval Office invitation I received a few weeks back. It is becoming a pattern,” he added in his tweet.
The Indian captain of Iranian supertanker, Adrian Darya (formerly known as Grace 1), received sanctions threat after turned down a several-million-dollar US offer in return for steering the vessel to a country that would impound it on behalf of the United States, western media reported on Wednesday.
In early July, British marines and Gibraltar police seized the Iranian tanker off the Southern coast of the Iberian Peninsula, claiming that the ship was transporting crude oil to Syria “in violation” of the EU sanctions placed on Damascus. Washington had applauded the move, hailing it as a sign that Europe is on board with the US unilateral sanctions against Tehran.
11 days after Gibraltar's Supreme Court ignored Washington request to detain the vessel for a further period and ruled in favor of releasing the supertanker, and Just four days before the United States imposed sanctions on the Iranian tanker, captain Akhilesh Kumar received an unusual email from US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook.
“This is Brian Hook . . . I work for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and serve as the US Representative for Iran,” Hook wrote to Kumar on August 26, according to several emails seen by The Financial Times, offering the captain a several million dollar fortune in case he takes the vessel to a country that would seize the ship under the US extraterritorial sanctions.
“With this money you can have any life you wish and be well-off in old age,” Hook wrote in a second email to Kumar that also included a warning.
“If you choose not to take this easy path, life will be much harder for you,” the US official warned.
After Kumar failed to respond, Hook emailed him to say that the US Treasury had imposed sanctions on him.
eantime, Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul reportedly tapped by Trump as a go-between with Iran, extended the invitation to Zarif during a meeting at the residence of Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations in New York on July 15, according to the US media reports.
The Iranian foreign minister was in the US for an event at the UN, and he rejected the invitation after consulting Tehran, according to the report, which cited “American and Iranian sources and a well-informed diplomat.”
On July 31, the US imposed sanctions on Zarif for what Iran described as “great fear” of his eloquent delivery of the Iranian nation’s message to the world.
In separate statements, the US departments of State and Treasury announced the imposition of sanctions against Zarif because he “acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
In a tweet shortly after the designation, Zarif said “the US' reason for designating me is that I am Iran's ‘primary spokesperson around the world’. Is the truth really that painful?”, mocking the terms used by the US administration to describe his activities.
The US sanctions on the top Iranian diplomat sparked global outcry.
The European Union also regretted the US decision, stating that it intends to keep working with the Iranian foreign minister.
World countries, including China, Russia, and France have also expressed concern about the move.