'You Take My Ship, I Take Your Ship' - Iran-Greek Tiff at High Point

Published May 28th, 2022 - 07:26 GMT
South Korean tanker
A 2021 file picture shows a South Korean-flagged tanker being escorted by Iran's Revolutionary Guards navy after being seized in the Gulf. (AFP)

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) says it has seized two Greek oil tankers in the Persian Gulf allegedly for committing “violations.”

According to reports, Greek oil tankers Prudent Warrior and Delta Poseidon have been moved to Iranian waters a few miles off the Persian Gulf coast.

It came shortly after a news agency close to Iran’s top security agency on Friday said “punitive action” will be taken against Greece for seizing an Iranian oil tanker.

Nour News, affiliated with Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, said the tanker had been seized by the Greek government and its oil cargo transferred to the Americans “in violation of international shipping and maritime protocols.”

The tanker was reportedly seized nearly seven weeks ago in Greece on the orders of the US Department of Justice as they thought the vessel, operated by Russia, was covered by sanctions on Russian assets.

Later, it was reported that the vessel was held for technical defects, but authorities in Greece claimed the vessel was smuggling Iranian crude in breach of international sanctions.

It has led to heightened tensions between Tehran and Athens, with Iran’s Foreign Ministry demanding the release of the ship and oil, accusing the Greek government of succumbing to US pressure.

Earlier on Friday, the ministry summoned the Swiss chargé d’affaires, who represents US interests in Tehran, to protest the seizure of the oil tanker in Greek territorial waters.

In a statement, the ministry said it conveyed its protest over the “continued violation of international laws and maritime conventions regarding free navigation and trade by the US administration.”

On Wednesday, the ministry summoned the Greek chargé d'affaires in Tehran to protest what it termed an “unacceptable” surrender to “illegal” US pressure.

The same day, Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization also issued a statement, describing the move as an “act of piracy” and a “violation of international standards.”

It said the tanker was held by the Greek government on the country’s coast, and the cargo on board the vessel was “seized through a court order” and “in coordination” with the US government.

Iran has often accused the US government of seizing its oil tankers in international waters. The navies of the two countries have also had close confrontations in the Persian Gulf close to Iran’s territorial waters.

© Copyright Andolu Ajansi

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