Iran summons Swiss chargé d'affaires over U.S. seizure of oil cargo

May 27, 2022 - 18:58

TEHRAN – The most senior Swiss diplomat in Tehran was summoned to the Iranian Foreign Ministry on Friday over a U.S-orchestrated seizure of an Iranian oil cargo off the Greek coast.

The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the Swiss chargé d'affaires was summoned in the absence of ambassador. The chargé d'affaires was summoned as the representative of the U.S. interests in Iran.

The Thursday report by Reuters news agency cited statements by unnamed source showing that the U.S. Department of Justice had confiscated 700,000 barrels of Iranian oil cargo seized last month off the southern Greek island of Evia onboard a Russian-operated ship, according to Press TV.

A Greek source said that the oil cargo had been transferred to another ship hired by Washington and will be sent to the U.S.

The source said the Department of Justice had “informed Greece that the cargo on the vessel is Iranian oil”.

Another source confirmed the American seizure and said that the Iranian oil cargo is currently being transferred to the Liberia-flagged tanker Ice Energy, which is operated by Greek shipping company Dynacom.

The Swiss chargé d'affaires has been told to hand over Iran’s “severe concern and protest” to the government of the United States over the cargo seizure.

The Iranian foreign ministry said the seizure took place under pressure from the government of the United States. It also described the U.S. move as “a continuation of flagrant violation of international maritime laws and regulations as well as relevant international conventions especially the principle of free navigation and free international trade.”

The Iranian Foreign Ministry called on the U.S. to “immediately release the ship and its cargo.”

Earlier, following the seizure of a ship with the flag of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Greek waters, the Iranian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday summoned Greece’s chargé d'affaires (in the absence of its ambassador) to protest the move strongly.

In the meeting, the director of the Mediterranean Department of the Foreign Ministry reminded the Greek government of its international obligations given that the vessel had stopped due to a technical problem.

He also condemned Greece’s surrender to U.S. pressure in this regard as unacceptable.

The director of the Mediterranean Department of the Foreign Ministry said confiscation of the cargo of the ship with Iran’s flag was an example of international piracy for which Athens and those who seized the ship illegally will be responsible. He added that Iran will not relinquish its legal rights and expects the Greek government to abide by its commitments regarding navigation and shipping.

Greece’s chargé d'affaires said he will convey Iran’s protest and displeasure to his country’s government.

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