Greece detained Iranian oil tanker to curb Iran oil exports: lawmaker

May 31, 2022 - 23:11

TEHRAN – An Iranian lawmaker has said that in the new alignments taking shape in the region Greece sided with Saudi Arabia and detained an Iranian oil tanker with the aim of reducing Iranian oil supplies.

The lawmaker, Ahmad Ali Reza Beigi, called the Greek seizure of the Iranian oil tanker a “piracy” that was part of regional rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia. 

Nearly a month ago, Greece seized an Iranian-flagged oil tanker off its coast and then transferred its cargo to the United States. Reuters reported Thursday that the United States has confiscated Iranian oil held on a Russian-operated ship near Greece and will send the cargo to the United States aboard another vessel.

The Iranian-flagged ship, the Pegas, was among five vessels designated by Washington on Feb. 22 - two days before the start of the war in Ukraine for sanctions against Promsvyazbank, a bank viewed as critical to Russia's defense sector, according to Reuters.

The Greek move was quickly rejected by Iran as “piracy.”

“What Greece has done is part of regional rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Greece detained the Iranian oil tanker due to its relations with Saudi Arabia,” Beigi said. “In the new alignments that have taken shape Greece sided with Saudi Arabia and this move was aimed to restrict the possibility of Iran supplying the global market with oil.”

He called on the government to react to the Greek move because if this move goes unanswered Iran’s oil exports will be disrupted. 

Yaghoub Rezazadeh, another lawmaker who is a member of the Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, called on the Iranian Foreign Ministry to take “the Greek piracy” to international institutions.
 
“The Greek government seized Iran's oil tanker without considering international relations, development of friendship and interaction with Iran,” he said, according to ICANA. “Unfortunately, European countries, at the instigation of the United States, have taken actions against Iran in violation of international law.”

Rezazadeh said Greece should certainly be held accountable for its seizure of the Iranian oil tanker. “Confiscation of the Iranian oil tanker in high seas is condemned in the international arena. However, the Greek government is not in a position to take any action against the interests of our country, and we will certainly respond to this unfriendly action of the Greek government,” he added. 

He also called on the Iranian military to intensify its measures against Greek ships. “The seizure of Greek ships by Iran’s armed forces should be intensified so that they [the Greek] know that if they confront Iran, that will be detrimental to them,” he asserted. 

On Friday, the media office of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) succinctly announced that the IRGC navy forces had detained two Greek oil tankers for violation of law in the Persian Gulf.

Iranian media said the seizure took place in response to the Greek move in detaining the Iranian oil tanker. Tasnim said the IRGC also issued warnings to other Greek ships sailing in the Persian Gulf.

“There are still 17 Greek ships sailing in the Persian Gulf which will be possibly detained by the IRGC if Greece continues its mischief,” Tasnim warned.

Even though it made the first move, Greece accused Iran of “piracy” following the seizure of its ships. 

“These actions are tantamount to acts of piracy,” the Greek Foreign Ministry said in a statement, warning Greek citizens to avoid traveling to Iran.

Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization (PMO) has said in a statement that the crew members of two Greek ships are not under arrest.

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