Iran seizes 2 Greek tankers in Persian Gulf as tensions rise – Boston Herald
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guards seized two Greek tankers in helicopter raids in the Persian Gulf on Friday, officials said. The action appears to be in retaliation for Athens’ aid in the US seizure of crude oil from an Iranian-flagged tanker this week in the Mediterranean Sea for violating Washington’s crippling sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
The raid marks the first major incident at sea in months as tensions remain high between Iran and the West over its tattered nuclear deal with world powers. As Tehran enriches more uranium, closer than ever to weapons-grade levels, concerns are growing that negotiators won’t find a way back to the deal, raising the risk of more war. wide.
The Guard released a statement announcing the seizures, accusing the tankers of unspecified violations. Nour News, a website close to Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, had earlier warned that Tehran planned to take ‘punitive action’ against Greece by helping the United States seize oil from the flagged Lana tanker. Iranian a few days earlier.
Greece’s foreign ministry said it had made a strong representation to Iran’s ambassador in Athens over the “violent takeover of two Greek-flagged vessels” in the Persian Gulf. “These acts effectively amount to acts of piracy,” said a statement from the ministry.
The ministry called for the immediate release of the ships and their crews, warning that the seizure would have “particularly negative consequences” in bilateral relations and in Iran’s relations with the European Union, of which Greece is a member.
An Iranian helicopter landed on the Greek-flagged Delta Poseidon in international waters, some 22 nautical miles from the Iranian coast, the ministry said.
“Armed men then captured the crew,” he added, adding that two Greek nationals were among the crew.
“A similar incident was reported on another Greek-flagged vessel, which was carrying seven Greek citizens, near the Iranian coast,” the ministry said.
A Greek official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss details of the attack with a reporter, identified the second ship as the Prudent Warrior. Its director, Polembros Shipping in Greece, said earlier that the company was “cooperating with the authorities and doing everything possible to effectively remedy the situation”.
Greek officials did not identify the nationalities of other crew members aboard the ships.
Both vessels came from Iraq’s Basra oil terminal loaded with crude, according to tracking data from MarineTraffic.com.