A stern view of the Grace 1 super tanker in the British territory of Gibraltar, Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019, seized last month in a British Royal Navy operation off Gibraltar.  The United States moved on Thursday to halt the release of the Iranian supertanker Grace 1, detained in Gibraltar for breaching EU sanctions on oil shipments to Syria, thwarting efforts by authorities in London and the British overseas territory to defuse tensions with Tehran. (AP Photo/Marcos Moreno)
Marcos Moreno/AP
A stern view of the Grace 1 super tanker in the British territory of Gibraltar, Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019, seized last month in a British Royal Navy operation off Gibraltar. The United States moved on Thursday to halt the release of the Iranian supertanker Grace 1, detained in Gibraltar for breaching EU sanctions on oil shipments to Syria, thwarting efforts by authorities in London and the British overseas territory to defuse tensions with Tehran. (AP Photo/Marcos Moreno)
Now playing
00:40
Iranian oil tanker at center of a standoff leaves Gibraltar
Anthony Blinken BBC intv
BBC
Anthony Blinken BBC intv
Now playing
03:27
Blinken: US will respond if Russia acts recklessly against Ukraine
Now playing
02:50
Brazil says it's ready to end deforestation in Amazon. But there's a price tag
The trial of the two US citizens charged with the murder of Italian police officer Mario Cerciello in July 2019 has concluded and a verdict is expected.
AFP
The trial of the two US citizens charged with the murder of Italian police officer Mario Cerciello in July 2019 has concluded and a verdict is expected.
Now playing
02:49
Italy charged two Californians with murder. Here are the case details
screengrab myanmar training
Reuters
screengrab myanmar training
Now playing
02:30
In Myanmar's jungles, protesters are training to fight the junta
Reuters
Now playing
01:50
Controversy around Ethiopia's Nile River dam project explained
Mexico C5 security system
Now playing
01:56
Video shows moment Mexico City metro overpass collapses
south africa cash in transit heist attempt pretoria McKenzie DNT intl ldn vpx_00004113.png
CIT Dashcam Video
south africa cash in transit heist attempt pretoria McKenzie DNT intl ldn vpx_00004113.png
Now playing
01:29
Gunmen with AK-47s ambushed cash-in-transit van. See how security team reacted
CNN
Now playing
04:59
Rare access to Ukrainian patrol boat challenging Russian navy
uruguay peoples pots feed hungry coronavirus pandemic romo pkg vpx_00000109.png
uruguay peoples pots feed hungry coronavirus pandemic romo pkg vpx_00000109.png
Now playing
02:24
This group of volunteers is on a noble mission amid pandemic
Now playing
01:21
Watch octopuses change color while they sleep
CNN
Now playing
05:00
Striking oil here could be worth billions of dollars. Not everyone is happy
screengrab myanmar journalist
DVB
screengrab myanmar journalist
Now playing
03:13
Myanmar's journalists face 'humanitarian crisis' as crackdown intensifies
Reuters
Now playing
04:19
Social media footage shows crush in Israel
screengrab myanmar thailand border
Karen National Union
screengrab myanmar thailand border
Now playing
03:06
Rare footage shows gun battle at Myanmar-Thailand border
Now playing
01:04
See Beijing launch key component of planned space station
(CNN) —  

United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has warned against ending an arms embargo on Iran, likening every day until the deal’s October 2020 expiration as a “#CountdownToTerror.”

The push to extend the ban on weapons sales to Tehran comes amid increasing efforts by Washington to restrict Iran’s oil exports. Since the decision by US President Donald Trump in 2018 to abandon the Iran nuclear deal, Washington has attempted to use what it calls “maximum pressure” to change Iran’s behavior and limit its nuclear ambitions.

“Time is drawing short to continue this activity of restricting Iran’s capacity to foment its terror regime. The international community will have plenty of time to see how long it has until Iran is unshackled to create new turmoil, and figure out what it must do to prevent this from happening,” Pompeo said Tuesday, during an address at the United Nations.

Also on Tuesday, the State Department released what Pompeo termed a “#CountdownToTerror clock” tracking the time until the arms embargo and a travel ban on Qasem Soleimani expire next year. Soleimani commands Iran’s Quds force, which is responsible for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ overseas activities.

The arms embargo covers all weapons sales and “related material” to Iran. It was put in place by the UN and is set to be lifted five years after the adoption of the nuclear deal.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Pompeo warned the international community against helping ships that are believed to be carrying illicit crude oil from Iran in breach of US sanctions.

Pompeo’s comments followed reports that an Iranian tanker called the Bonita Queen was headed to Syria to deliver crude oil.

“We’ve made clear anyone who touches it, anyone who supports it, anyone who allows a ship to dock, is at risk of receiving sanctions from the United States of America. So if that ship again heads to Syria, we’ll take every action we can consistent with those sanctions to prevent them,” Pompeo said.

A source at the company Tanker Tracker, which tracks top oil exports based on satellite technology, said that the Bonita Queen was sailing toward Syria carrying about 600,000 barrels of oil. The source said Syria illegally receives about 3 million barrels of crude oil a month shipped from abroad.

The Bonita Queen does not fly the Iranian flag, but it is managed by the same company as a tanker now called the Adrian Darya 1, formerly known as the Grace 1.

The Adrian Darya 1 was impounded last month by the UK in Gibraltar on suspicion that it was attempting to carry oil to Syria, in breach of European Union sanctions. The ship was released Sunday, shortly after the United States issued a warrant for its seizure Friday in what appeared to be a last-ditch attempt to stop the tanker.

Iran has maintained that it is not seeking a confrontation and the US actions are tantamount to bullying.

“Iran is not interested in confrontation. We were not the ones who walked away from a carefully negotiated agreement, an agreement that was not exactly what we wanted and certainly not exactly what the US wanted, or Europeans wanted or for that matter not exactly what China and Russia wanted,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Tuesday, referring to the nuclear deal.