ATHENS (Greece) -- A central Greek court has overturned a ruling authorizing the confiscation crude oil from an Iranian flagged tanker in the middle of a volatile dispute about international sanctions.
Officials from Iran and Greece confirmed that Thursday's appeals court in Halkida overturned a lower court decision to allow removal of Lana's cargo. The tanker was temporarily taken by Greek authorities in April.
The Iranian Embassy in Athens stated that "By God’s grace, all oil shipment will return", in a statement shared on social media following the court's ruling.
The embassy stated that "the issue remains the subject matter of intense consultations between both countries to ensure full implementation"
According to a Greek official, the Iranian tanker's cargo had been transferred to another vessel after the United States requested it. According to Greek media, the Lana is believed to have more than 100,000 tonnes of Iranian crude oil. This was in violation of sanctions imposed by the United States and European Union on Iran.
Iran protested fiercely against the move and ordered last month the armed takingover of two Greek-flagged tanks in the Persian Gulf. The seizure the tankers was branded by the Greek Foreign Ministry as "tantamount of piracy".
"The actions taken were completely unjustified, and unprovoked. Giannis Oikonomou, spokesperson for the Greek government said that they had stated this from the beginning. He stated that the justice system in Greece operates independently and has been proven numerous times.
The Lana was seized by Greek authorities after it ananchored near Karystos, April 15. It was carrying 19 Russians and was flying a Russian flag at the time.
The Greek coast guard stated that the tanker was taken by Greece because it was suspected of violating EU sanctions against Russia in relation to the war in Ukraine.