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Greece hands over Iran oil it seized from Russian tanker to US

May 26, 2022 at 10:50 am

View of the Greek flag from ship leaving the port Tino island on April 14, 2021 in Tinos, Greece [Athanasios Gioumpasis/Getty Images]

Greece announced yesterday that it will deliver Iranian oil cargo that was on board the ‘Lana’ oil tanker, which authorities seized in mid-April, to the US at the request of the US justice system, in a decision that Tehran condemned.

On 19 April, Greek authorities seized a Russian oil tanker formerly named ‘Pegas’, now known as ‘Lana’, off the coast of Euboea island as part of its efforts to implement sanctions issued by the EU on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.

Reports issued at the time stated that the tanker was carrying 115,000 tonnes of Iranian oil.

“Following a request from the US justice system, the oil is to be transferred to the United States at the expense of that country,” a spokeswoman for the Greek port police told AFP yesterday evening.

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Tehran quickly protested against the decision, describing the confiscation of the oil shipment as a “clear example of piracy.”

The Iranian Sea and Ports Organisation said, in a statement on its website, that “the Islamic Republic of Iran will not waive its legal rights and expects the Greek government to adhere to its international obligations in the field of seafaring and shipping.”

By means of the International Maritime Organisation, the Iranian Foreign Ministry asked on Tuesday night, the Greek government to release the tanker and its crew, stressing that the US had “unloaded the cargo from the ship on Tuesday evening.”

Greek authorities did not immediately respond to Tehran’s protests, nor did they provide further details about the unloading of the shipment and when it would be delivered to the US.