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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S. Tests Show Oil From Iraq




MUSCAT, Oman -- A Russian tanker that the United States says was smuggling Iraqi oil in violation of UN sanctions was waiting Monday to off-load its cargo at a port in Oman, even as Russian officials cast doubt on U.S. tests that showed the oil was from Iraq.


The off-loading was to begin Tuesday, Russian diplomats said. Port officials had earlier said the ship would be free to leave after its cargo is unloaded, but a statement from the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet raised doubts as to whether the ship would be returned to its owner.


Under the rules of the embargo, the host nation may sell the ship and cargo.


U.S. Navy SEALS commandos, operating as part of a multinational interception force in the Gulf of Oman, boarded the Volgoneft-147 tanker Wednesday. The tanker was handed over to Oman on Monday.


U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen said tests completed Sunday confirmed it was carrying smuggled Iraqi oil. He also disclosed that an Iraqi naval officer was on board the ship.


The Russian government has insisted the oil was from Iran. The Foreign Ministry said Russia will carry out its own investigation, and its UN ambassador called for independent tests to determine the source of the oil.