Iran seizes Greek tankers after US ‘piracy’ — Analysis

Tehran’s troops boarded two Greek oil tankers after Athens enabled the US seizure of an Iranian-flagged vessel

Iranian soldiers took two Greek-flagged oil tankers in the Persian Gulf, Friday. Tehran however protested the seizure of another vessel in Greek waters this week and claimed it was US. “piracy.” Washington reportedly plans to sell the ship’s oil cargo, which was confiscated under sanctions targeting Russia.

Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Navy troops used helicopters to board the tankers Delta Poseidon and Prudent Warrior on Friday, the industry monitor Lloyd’s List reported. These ships were “later escorted by naval vessels from international traffic lanes to Iranian waters a few miles off the coast,”According to the same source. 

The Greek Foreign Ministry confirmed that the vessels were taken and demanded their immediate release. Iranian media confirmed that the two ships were taken away, implying it was a reprisal for the Athens government’s actions. More than 25% of the world’s tankers fly the Greek flag.

“The Islamic Republic has decided to take punitive measures against Greece after it seized an Iranian tanker and let the US government confiscate its crude oil,”Nour News is an outlet associated with the IRGC.

Meanwhile, the Iranian Foreign Ministry had summoned the ambassador of Switzerland – which represents US interests in Tehran – to protest the seizure of the Iranian-flagged tanker Pegas in Greek waters on Wednesday. 

“The Islamic Republic expressed its deep concern over the US government’s continued violation of international laws and international maritime conventions,”According to IRNA, the state news agency.

Iranian military ‘foils’ US attempt to seize tanker in Sea of Oman

Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization said the tanker had sought shelter along the Greek coast from bad weather after experiencing technical problems, and called the seizure of its cargo “a clear example of piracy.”

Although the US government didn’t comment on the issue, Reuters reported Thursday that Washington planned to ship the oil to America on another vessel. This was based on three sources who are familiar with the situation.

The US has sanctioned Iran’s oil exports and previously seized Iranian tankers bound for Venezuela, citing its sanctions against Caracas. Pegas’ capture seems related to Moscow sanctions. 

Pegas used to be owned by Transmorflot, a Russian company. The US sanctioned Pegas on February 22, just two days before hostilities began in Ukraine. Transmorflot itself was sanctioned on May 8, but Pegas – renamed Lana on March 1 – was already under Iranian ownership by then and has been flying Tehran’s flag since May 1.

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