Iranian tanker Adrian Darya 1
image via flickr

Gibraltar authorities released an Iranian tanker, Adrian Darya 1 after six weeks of detention despite US request for prolonged detention. The British overseas territory had held the ship in July on suspicion it was carrying oil to Syria, the charge which Iran has been repeatedly denying. Any such transportation with Syria, where a civil-war has been undergoing for 9 continuous year, is in violation of European Union’s sanctions.

However, despite the US pressures, or requests, the Iranian tanker provocatively floats in international waters again. When it was detained, the ship operated under the name “Grace 1”, now it has changed name. A ship with ironically changing fates and names, is now headed to a changed destination, if the Western theory about the ship’s destination is true.

Now, with a new direction, the Iranian tanker is headed to Kalamata in Greece, according to Marine Traffic Website. Grace 1 has a new identity under Adrian Darya 1.

Adrian Darya 1 eluded last-minute US request to Gibraltar authorities to seize it again before it was left to float eastwards in Mediterranean. The British overseas territory turned down US request, reasoning it could not reissue a new detention as US sanctions against Iran did not apply in the EU.

Will Iranian Tanker Saga Precipitate the End of US Unilateralism?

Iran’s behavior provides an ample room for the international relations researchers and writers working on the region. After 15 days its tanker was detained in Gibraltar, Iran seized a British-flagged tanker- the Stena Impero, in the Strait of Hormuz for alleged maritime violations. Not surprisingly, this act was a concealed warning to the United Kingdom, which had detained its ship whose cargo had a worth of roughly $130 million of oil. Obviously, this tat-for-tat seizure led to soaring political temperature to the brink of that uncertainty which provides enough fuel to ignite a war.

There is a South Asian saying, which equally applies to Western handling of Iran, that, “sometimes you have to unravel from teeth what you had earlier tied with hand”. On Thursday, Gibraltar’s Supreme Court eventually issued orders of the Iranian vessel. The decision came after Gibraltar authorities said that they had obtained written assurances from Iran that the ship would not be headed for those countries subject to EU sanctions.

Despite the latest development, a senior Iranian lawmaker said on Monday that the tension between Iran and United Kingdom would not normalize until its ship reached its destination safely. However, it is interesting that mystery still surrounds the exact destination of the ship.

According to Aljazeera’s Andrew Simmons, who is reporting from Gibraltar, “the destination is unknown. It just says on the transponder: Mediterranean. That appears to fit with the tracking so far.”

The Iranian tanker’s departure from off the Gibraltar coast marks the formidability of Iran as a potential foe, if not a power, which cannot be tinkered with beyond a certain limit. There have been speculations that the UK-flagged ship’s release will follow, but neither of the side has confirmed anything as yet.

Yet, the release of this Iranian ship despite the United State’s last-ditch effort to stop its release marks something more important than the detention or even the release of the Iranian tanker. Despite the US charges, citing violations of its sanctions as well as money laundering and “terrorism” statutes, Gibraltar released the Iranian tanker. It suggests one thing clear than all other things combined that: the US unilateralism is waning amidst the shadows of a tanker diminishing into eastern side of the Mediterranean sea.