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Iran confirms it released Greek tankers after Athens did same

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Photo shows a view to the entrance of the Iranian Foreign Ministry in Tehran.

Iran has confirmed reports it released two Greek-flagged tankers that had been confiscated in the country’s waters in the Persian Gulf in May after an Iranian-flagged tanker was allowed to leave Greece.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said the Greek tankers had left Iranian waters earlier in the day based on an understanding reached between maritime authorities of Iran and Greece.

The statement indicated that Iranian-flagged tanker Lana had set sail from Greece hours earlier and seven months after it was seized in the country because of US pressure.

Tanker tracking services said on Wednesday that Lana was underway from Greece and Istanbul was listed as its destination.

Data from those services showed Greek tankers Delta Poseidon and Prudent Warrior were underway from Iran and were sailing to ports in the United Arab Emirates for inspections before returning to Greece.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry said in its statement that Iranian and Greek maritime authorities had signed a memorandum of understanding to increase their cooperation in order to improve maritime security.

It said the agreement came following months of intensive negotiations between the two countries and allowed the confiscated vessels to leave on the same day.

The statement highlighted the fact that the United States had sought to confiscate an oil cargo on Lana under false accusations that it violated the unilateral American sanctions on Iran.

It described the move as a piracy and said it was in line with previous US attempts to confiscate Iranian oil in international or territorial waters.  

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