US issues warrant to seize Iranian oil tanker over money laundering and terrorism

US issues warrant to seize Iranian oil tanker in Gibraltar over money laundering and terrorism

The US Justice Department unveiled a warrant on Friday for the seizure of the Iranian oil supertanker that British Royal Marines had seized last month, one day after a Gibraltar judge allowed the release of the detained vessel.

The warrant says the vessel Grace 1, all the oil aboard and $995,000 are subject to forfeiture based on violations of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), bank fraud, money laundering, and terrorism.

Earlier on Friday, the US State Department said it will revoke US visas for crew members on the Iranian oil tanker.

Iran threatens to seize UK oil tanker after Royal Marines seize Iranian tanker carrying oil to Syria (2)

The department stated that it intends to fully enforce all US sanctions related to Iranian oil exports despite the decision by Gibraltar to allow the ship to leave.

The Grace 1, which carries 2.1 million barrels of oil, was seized by British Royal Marine commandos on July 4 for violating European Union sanctions by taking oil to Syria, a close ally of Iran.

US issues warrant to seize Iranian oil tanker in Gibraltar over money laundering and terrorism (2).jpg

Iran recently started enriching uranium beyond a limit established in a 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers, a deal from which President Trump withdrew. Trump has since intensified economic sanctions on Tehran, tensions have escalated and oil tankers have been seized by Iran or targeted by Iranian-backed terrorists.