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Iran and Greece; confiscation of oil tankers

The Liberian-flagged oil tanker Ice Energy (L) transfers crude oil from the Iranian-flagged oil tanker Lana (R) (former Pegas), off the shore of Karystos, on the Island of Evia, on May 29, 2022. (AFP)

Greek authorities impounded Iranian flagged tanker carrying oil earlier this month citing US sanctions on Iran. The United States later confiscated the oil.

Iran's foreign ministry on Wednesday summoned the Greek chargé d'affaires to protest the seizure of the Iranian flagged vessel and confiscation of its cargo in the territorial waters of the European country.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry condemned the unacceptable surrender of Greece to illegal US pressures, and said the seizure of the cargo of a ship flying the flag of the Islamic Republic of Iran was an example of international piracy.

Well, the Greek authorities have acted, evidently, under instructions from the United States and probably they don't even have an explanation.

They just executed what they were requested, as always happens with countries that are under the patronage of the United States. So the situation is always the same, the United States decides who should be punished and there are some executors.

Paolo Raffone, Secretary General, CIPI Foundation

The Iranian Ports and Maritime Organization issued a statement also describing the move as an act of piracy which is in violation of international standards.

According to the statement, the vessel had faced adverse weather conditions and experienced some technical problems, which led the Captain to call for assistance.

Under international and technical regulations and standards, the state with the nearest coastline to the vessel calling for assistance due to safety threats, which in this case was Greece.

Athens should have cooperated by guiding the vessel to a place of safety where the problems could be resolved, before sending it off on the rest of its voyage.

Iran's Islamic revolution Guards Corps has released a video of the recent seizure of two Greek oil tankers in the Persian Gulf over maritime violations.

The video shows the IRGC's heliborne Special Forces boarding the Greek ships ahead of their seizure over violations in the waters of the Persian Gulf. The foreign ministry of Iran said one of the vessels, the Delta Poseidon, was in international waters at the time, adding that the second tanker was near the Iranian coast when seized.

The ministry also said nine Greek nationals were among the crews of the vessels, but did not stipulate how many sailors of other nationalities were on board.

The Ports and Maritime Organization of Iran issued a statement on Saturday saying that the crews of the two Greek oil tankers have not been detained, but are aboard the vessels and in good health.

The US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, labeled the seizure as unjustified, calling for the release of the tankers and their crews.

France meanwhile called this "a serious violation of international law" while making no reference to the seized Iranian tanker.

The seizure of the Iranian oil tanker took place at a juncture in time when talks for the revival of the 2015 deal have become gridlocked.

Well, evidently they have calculated that exerting what they call the maximum pressure on Iran is the necessary thing to do; you know, the full thing, the maximum during the negotiations.

It is something that is difficult to evaluate but obviously is not a friendly move and  is an indication of the fact that for them, Iran still is under sanctions, and therefore to be excluded from international trade in energy, in the energy sector.

Paolo Raffone, Secretary General, CIPI Foundation

The US administration claims it wants to see the JCPOA restored but actions speak louder than words.


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