US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has tweeted an image including two inset satellite images allegedly showing the offloading of oil from Iran's Adrian Darya 1 tanker in Syria, claiming that the image 'proved' "that Iran lied to the UK and Gibraltar".
Oil from the #AdrianDarya1 has been offloaded in Syria, proving that Iran lied to the UK and Gibraltar. This terrorist oil will fund Assad’s war and Iran’s sectarian violence. EU members should condemn this action, uphold the rule of law, and hold Iran accountable. pic.twitter.com/4GPZpdYU8b— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) 9 октября 2019 г.
According to Pompeo, the tanker's "terrorist oil" would now be used to "fund [Syrian President Bashar] Assad's war and Iran's sectarian violence". The top US diplomat called on the European Union's members to "condemn this action" and "hold Iran accountable".
The edited image cited by Pompeo appeared to feature an earlier released image showing activity around the Adrian Darya 1, including the presence of a smaller tanker with mooring lines between the ships and a crane deployed by the larger vessel.
Last week, Pompeo published another tweet with a satellite image, asking whether the world would "hold Iran accountable if this oil is delivered to Syria". However, Tanker Trackers, which had published the image used by Pompeo, later accused Pompeo of misrepresenting its reporting and thus damaging its reputation.
The US has repeatedly accused Iran of going back on its alleged commitment to the UK and Gibraltar authorities not to sell its oil to Syria. However, Iranian diplomats have stated repeatedly that no commitments of the kind were made, and, furthermore, that the Adrian Darya 1 had sold its oil at sea to a private company, and did not dock at a Syrian port facility.
Tanker Detention Saga
The Adrian Darya 1, formerly known as the Grace 1, was seized by authorities in Gibraltar in early July after the UK received a tip from its US allies claiming that the tanker planned to unload its crude oil cargo in Syria, in violation of European Union sanctions against the war-torn country. Gibraltar released the ship in mid-August, in defiance of a US request to continue the detention, and the issuance of a US warrant to seize the ship.
After its release, the US attempted to prevent the tanker from unloading its cargo anywhere in the Mediterranean, and updated an advisory on Iran sanctions threatening to blacklist any country, company or individual involved in the provision of refuelling services to any vessel "transporting petroleum or petroleum products from Iran".