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Spill from transfer of seized Iran oil alarms Greek environmentalists

Local sources have published images of pollution in the Greek port of Karistos.

Local sources in Greece are reporting a growing spill from the country’s transfer of oil from an Iranian tanker seized recently off the Greek coast.

They have published images of the pollution in the Greek port of Karistos, blaming it for “non-standard” transfer without observing environmental principles. 

The spill has already drawn protests from local environmentalists, the report said.

“Even if only one-thousandth of a shipment leaks during the transfer process at sea, the environmental damage will be incalculable,” the Greek Environmental Protection Association Karistos said in a statement.

“We have a legitimate interest in requesting that the tanker be removed immediately from the Gulf of Karistos and relocated to a safe transfer area,” it said.

The statement said the Karistos environment should not pay "another heavy price for the government’s political choices, and the Russian tanker should leave the port". 

The tanker, carrying Iranian oil, was seized in Greek waters under the pretext of violating sanctions and its cargo was ordered by the US to be moved to another vessel.

Iran condemned the seizure “an example of international piracy”, the responsibility of which “lies with the Greek government and the illegal occupants”. The charge d’affaires of the Greek embassy in Tehran was summoned to Iran’s ministry of foreign affairs and notified of the Islamic Republic strong indignation.

The Ports and Maritime Organization of the Islamic Republic of Iran also issued a statement calling on the Greek government to fulfill its international obligations in this regard.

Earlier, Reuters quoted unnamed sources as saying that the US Department of Justice had confiscated 700,000 barrels of Iranian oil cargo off the southern Greek island of Evia on board a Russian-operated ship.

On Friday, Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) seized two Greek oil tankers in the Persian Gulf over violations.

“The IRGC Navy today seized two Greek oil tankers for violations they have carried in the azure waters of the Persian Gulf,” the IRGC said in a statement.

Earlier that day, Iran’s Nour News reported that the country was going to take “punitive action” against Greece over the Iranian tanker's seizure.

Tasnim news agency said a total of 17 Greek ships were sailing in the Persian Gulf, warning of further confiscations if Greece continued to take orders from the United States.

At least nine crew members on board the vessels are currently in the IRGC custody. Officials have said they are not detained and are in good health.

Senior political commentator Mohammad Marandi told Press TV that by seizing the Greek-flagged tankers, Tehran intends to send a message to Washington and its allies, “warning them against harming Iran’s oil trade.”

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