US Secretary of State Pompeo: Release of Iranian tanker ‘unfortunate’

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a television interview on Monday that it was unfortunate an Iranian oil tanker detained off Gibraltar had been allowed to leave.

“It’s unfortunate that that happened,” Pompeo told Fox News Channel.

He added that if Iran is successful in making profit from the tanker’s oil cargo, its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps will have “more money, more wealth, more resources to continue their terror campaign.”

Earlier on Monday, a State Department official said that the United States has conveyed its “strong position” to the Greek government about an Iranian tanker that sailed for Greece on Monday after it was freed from detention off Gibraltar and Washington says is carrying oil to Syria.

Any efforts to assist the tanker could be considered as providing material support to a US-designated foreign terrorist organization, which has immigration and potential criminal consequences, the official said.

The official said the tanker was assisting the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which the United States has designated as a terrorist organization, by transporting oil to Syria.

The official said the United States had conveyed its “strong position” to the Greek government, as well as to all ports in the Mediterranean about facilitating the tanker.

On Monday, marine tracking data showed that the Iranian tanker held by Gibraltar since July after being the center of a diplomatic dispute has left port, and is heading to the Greek island of Kalamata, and was scheduled to arrive next Sunday.

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British Royal Marines seized the vessel in Gibraltar in July on suspicion that it was carrying oil to Syria, a close ally of Iran, in violation of European Union sanctions.

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