Breaking: US says Iranian tanker heading to Syria

Moments ago, United States Secretary of Defense Mike Pompeo announced that the US had information that the port city of Tartus in Syria was about to host Iran’s heavy-laden oil tanker Adrian Darya 1 (ex-Grace 1) .

Pompeo’s statement was followed up with a reminder that the Adrian Darya 1 is blacklisted by the US Department of Treasury; US lawmakers have a history of only mentioning such things when they intend to commit to some kind of unilateral military action.

Indeed in the days since the tanker was released from captivity in Gibraltar, the ship has traveled eastwards from its release point deeper into the Mediterranean, to which Syria is at the far end.

At first there were reports that the tanker was going to stop in Greece, then later in southern Turkey and then Lebanon – official shipping sources from in Greece denied that the ship had requested to dock (also saying they would not attempt to assist it if it tried) and Turkish sources claimed the vessel was going to Lebanon.

In any event, whether the Adrian Darya 1 is heading to Syria or some other eastern Mediterranean port city, the ship (which is reportedly carrying 2.1 million barrels of oil) is clearly in US cross-hairs.

The coming hours or days will likely reveal if the US will attempt to seize the Iranian vessel.