On Friday, May 27, the Revolutionary Guards, an ideological arm of the Islamic Republic of Iran's Islamic Republic, announced that they had taken two Greek oil tankers from Gulf waters. This was just after protesting against Greece's seizing of an Iranian ship. In a press release, the Greek Foreign Ministry denounced acts "akin or piracy" in which it called for Greek citizens not to travel to Iran.
According to the Revolutionary Guards, its naval forces "seized two Greek oil tanksers in Persian Gulf today because of violations they committed," according a statement posted to their website. The Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed the assertion that Iranian navy helicopters would have flown the armed men aboard the tankers. He said that the Delta Poseidon was sailing in international waters at the time. According to the same source, the second was located near the Iranian coast.
According to the Greek ministry, nine Greeks were part of the crews on the two ships. However, they declined to provide the number of sailors aboard. He also said that Athens had informed the European Union (EU) and the International Maritime Organization about the incident.
This Friday, Iran called for the "immediate lifting" of the seizure by Greece of an Iranian-oil ship. The vessel was being held since mid-April. At the request of the United States. The Greek authorities took the Russian tanker Pegas from the Greek island of Euboea on April 19, under European sanctions related to the war in Ukraine. It was renamed Lana a few days later. According to reports, the tanker was carrying 115,000 tonnes Iranian oil.
A spokeswoman from the Greek port police stated Wednesday that the oil would be "transferred" to the United States [...] upon a request by American justice.
The Iranian foreign ministry summoned the Swiss charge-d'affaires to represent US interests after the disintegration of diplomatic relations between Washington, Tehran and Washington following the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
According to a statement on the Foreign Ministry's Website, Tehran has accused Washington of "clear violations of maritime law and international Conventions" and called for the "immediate lifting of the seizure ship and cargo".
Iran reiterated its opposition against "the pressure and interference of the US government" which led to the seizing of the ship. Tehran believes the ship is under the "sovereignty the Islamic Republic". According to documents obtained by the Greek Coast Guard the tanker remains under the Russian flag.
AFP was told by a source from the Greek Coast Guard that oil transfer to a Liberian flag-flapping vessel began on Thursday. It would take "a few days."
These incidents occur as negotiations between Iran, world powers and the United States to restore the nuclear agreement have been stalled since March. Washington rejected Tehran's request to take the Guardians off the US blacklist of terrorist organizations. This is one of the major sticking points.