Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

U.S. national security adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo listen as President Donald Trump speaks before signing a National Security Presidential Memorandum in the Oval Office February 7, 2019 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

'Bolton Is Desperate to Start a War': US Issues Warrant to Seize Iranian Oil Tanker

"Perfectly illustrates the U.S. trying to impose its domestic laws on the rest of the world. It should provoke worldwide outrage."

Jake Johnson

After the Gibraltar Supreme Court rejected the Trump administration's effort to stop the release of an Iranian oil tanker seized by the U.K. last month, the Justice Department further escalated tensions with Tehran by issuing a warrant on Friday in a last-ditch bid to seize the tanker before it sets sail.

"Bolton is desperate to start a war," tweeted Quincy Institute executive vice president Trita Parsi, referring to President Donald Trump's national security adviser.

The warrant, unveiled by the Justice Department Friday night, states that "all petroleum aboard [the Grace 1 tanker] and $995,000.00 are subject to forfeiture based on violations of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), bank fraud statute, and money laundering statute, as well as separately the terrorism forfeiture statute."

According to Al Jazeera, "There was no immediate word from Britain or Gibraltar over whether they would act on the warrant, as Iran said it was sending a new crew to pilot the tanker."

As Common Dreams reported after British forces seized Grace 1 in waters east of Gibraltar last month, the U.K. alleged the tanker was carrying oil to Syria in violation of European Union sanctions.

Iran denied the accusations and said the U.K. captured Grace 1 under orders from the Trump administration.

On Thursday, the Trump Justice Department filed an appeal to seize the tanker, but the Gibraltar Supreme Court rejected the U.S. effort and ordered the release of Grace 1.

Following the court's decision, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif accused the Trump administration of a "piracy attempt."

"Having failed to accomplish its objectives through its economic terrorism—including depriving cancer patients of medicine—the U.S. attempted to abuse the legal system to steal our property on the high seas," said Zarif.

On Twitter, journalist Gareth Porter said the Trump administration's warrant issued Friday "perfectly illustrates the U.S. trying to impose its domestic laws on the rest of the world."

"It should provoke worldwide outrage," Porter added.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

'You Tell Me What We Should Cut': Sanders Not Budging on $3.5 Trillion

"Poll after poll tells me, and tells you, that what we are trying to do is enormously popular."

Jake Johnson ·


Biden Set to Admit Even Fewer Refugees Than Trump's Record Low

The "paltry" number of those admitted so far would be well below the 62,500 ceiling President Joe Biden had set for the current fiscal year.

Andrea Germanos ·


In 'Landmark' Decision, EPA Finalizes Rule Cutting Use of Super-Pollutant HFCs

The regulation will drastically curb the use of "the most potent super-pollutants known to mankind at the moment," one climate campaigner said.

Julia Conley ·


Biden's Envoy to Haiti Resigns in Protest Over 'Inhumane' Deportations

The Biden administration's move to ramp up deportations at a time of overlapping crises will "add to Haiti's unacceptable misery," wrote Daniel Foote.

Kenny Stancil ·


Pfizer CEO—Biden's 'Good Friend'—Is Privately Working to Tank Drug Price Reforms

Pfizer's chief executive Albert Bourla is reportedly urging his employees to fight Democrats' plan to let Medicare directly negotiate drug prices.

Jake Johnson ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo