TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – A senior US official personally offered several million dollars to the Indian captain of an Iranian-operated tanker, the US State Department confirmed.
The Financial Times reported that Brian Hook, the State Department pointman on Iran, sent emails to captain Akhilesh Kumar in which he offered “good news” of millions in US cash to live comfortably if he steered the Adrian Darya 1 to a country where it could be seized.
“We have seen the Financial Times article and can confirm that the details are accurate,” a State Department spokeswoman said.
The Adrian Darya 1 was held for six weeks by the British overseas territory of Gibraltar on suspicion that it was set to deliver oil from Iran to Syria.
Gibraltar released the ship, formerly called the Grace 1, on August 18 despite US efforts to prevent this from happening.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif mocked Hook’s initiative as he pointed to the Financial Times story.
“Having failed at piracy, the US resorts to outright blackmail—deliver us Iran’s oil and receive several million dollars or be sanctioned yourself. Sounds very similar to the Oval Office invitation I received a few weeks back. It is becoming a pattern,” Zarif tweeted.
State Department chief spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus hit back using Zarif’s exact words, accusing Iran of “outright blackmail” with its call for $15 billion from European powers to be paid back from Iran’s future oil sales.
Iran said if it receives the credit line, it will not reduce its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers from which US President Donald Trump withdrew in May 2018.