US State Department offers Indian Akhilesh Kumar millions of dollars to deliver the vessel to an allied port. Faced with a refusal, the decision to include him on the black list of people subject to sanctions. Tehran ready to abandon all limits to nuclear research and development.
Tehran (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A leading personality from US administration offered several million dollars to the Indian captain of the Iranian-flagged tanker suspected of transporting oil to Syria. For some time the ship, blocked in Gibraltar, has been at the center of an international controversy and only the intervention of the Supreme Court of the UK overseas territory has allowed the situation to be unblocked.
According to some sources, it also emerged that the captain of the boat did not want to "respond" to the "offer" - or to the attempted corruption - from Washington; this is why the US administration added the man to the black list of people subject to sanctions.
The Financial Times reveals that Brian Hook, the official in charge of the Iranian dossier within the State Department, sent more than one email to Captain Akhilesh Kumar, presenting him with the "good news" of millions of dollars in cash to live a comfortable life . In return, he would have had to bring the Adrian Darya 1 to a port where the United States could exercise the forced seizure of the vessel (thanks to connivance of the local government).
"We saw the article," the US State Department spokeswoman said, "and we can confirm that the details contained within it are accurate." Moreover, already in the past the United States tried to bribe, or alternatively to target captains of vehicles and boats carrying goods or fuel in support of the Pasdaran or other groups on the US black list.
The Adrian Darya 1 has spent about six weeks under seizure under in Gibraltar, with the suspicion of transporting oil to Syria (in violation also of European sanctions against the government of President Bashar al-Assad). The ship, which was originally called Grace 1, was able to take to the sea on 18 August after being guaranteed that it would not be heading towards nations in the Brussels sights.
On the Iranian front, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif intervened to comment on the matter, mocking Hook's initiative. "Having failed with the act of piracy - the head of diplomacy in Tehran wrote in a tweet - the United States resorts to blackmail: give us Iran's oil and receive several million or you will be the victim of sanctions yourself".
In the background remains the tug of war between Tehran and Washington, triggered in May 2018 by the decision of US President Donald Trump to withdraw from the nuclear agreement (Jcpoa) reached three years earlier by predecessor Barack Obama.
Overnight the Iranian president Hassan Rohani announced the abandonment of all limits to the research and development in nuclear matters by the Islamic Republic. The national atomic agency, the president says, "has received the order to take all the necessary measures in the field of research and development and to abandon all the commitments in force in the sector".