US has resorted to outright blackmailing, says FM Zarif

TEHRAN, Sep. 05 (MNA) – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said late on Wednesday that the United States has resorted to outright blackmailing.

In response to a US bribery offer to the captain of Iranian oil tanker, Adrian Darya 1, then known as Grace 1, he emphasized, “having failed at piracy, the United States has resorted to blackmailing.”

The supertanker and its cargo were on July 4 unlawfully seized by Britain’s naval forces, in the Strait of Gibraltar on the pretext that it had been suspected of carrying crude to Syria in violation of the European Union’s unilateral sanctions against the Arab country. Tehran, however, rejected London’s claim about the tanker’s destination and slammed the seizure as “piracy.”

"US has told the captain of Iranian oil tanker that deliver us Iran’s oil and receive several million dollars or be sanctioned yourself," Zarif wrote on his Twitter account on Wednesday.

"This sounds very similar to the Oval Office invitation I received a few weeks ago," he added, referring to the occasion when he himself was invited to meet with president Trump at the White House just weeks before the Trump administration placed sanctions on him.

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