Iranian soldiers seized two oil tankers flying the Greek flag in the Persian Gulf on Friday, while Tehran protested the confiscation of one of its own vessels in Greek waters earlier this week, calling it 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. The 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 the seizure of the two vessels and demanded their release. Iranian media likewise confirmed the capture of the ships, making clear it was reprisal against the actions of the government in Athens. 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,” reported Nour News, an outlet affiliated 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 the state news agency IRNA.