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Iranian-flagged tanker in Greece tugged to Piraeus port

The Liberian-flagged oil tanker Ice Energy (L) transfers crude oil from the Russian-flagged oil tanker Lana (R) (former Pegas), off the shore of Karystos, on the Island of Evia, on May 29, 2022. - Greece will send Iranian oil from a seized Russian-flagged tanker to the United States at the request of the US judiciary, Greek port police said Wednesday, a decision that angered Tehran. Last month the Greek authorities seized the Pegas, which was said to have been heading to the Marmara terminal in Turkey. The authorities seized the ship in accordance with EU sanctions introduced after Russia invaded Ukraine in February. (Photo by Angelos Tzortzinis / AFP) (Photo by ANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP via Getty Images)
The Liberian-flagged oil tanker Ice Energy (L) transfers crude oil from the Russian-flagged oil tanker Lana (R) (former Pegas), off the shore of Karystos, on the Island of Evia, on May 29, 2022 [ANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP via Getty Images]

An Iranian-flagged tanker seized by Greece in April, part of whose cargo was confiscated by the United States, was being towed to the port of Piraeus on Saturday, Greek coast guard officials said, after Greek authorities approved its release, Reuters reported.

For over two months the Iranian-flagged Lana has been anchored off the Greek island of Evia in a diplomatic impasse which strained Athens' relations with Tehran amid growing tensions between Iran and the United States.

"It left Karystos at 06:30 am (0330 GMT) and is expected to reach Piraeus around 10:00 pm," one official said.

Greek authorities in April impounded the Lana and its oil cargo with 19 Russian crew members on board near the coast of Evia, due to sanctions following legal action by the United States.

That decision was overturned on June 10 due to complications regarding their ownership, but until last week the ship was being detained by another company over debts owed for towing services.

READ: UK, France, Germany urge Iran to revive nuclear deal 'while it is still possible'

The Lana, which has engine problems, was officially released after the amount owed was paid off, legal sources told Reuters.

Part of the ship's Iranian oil cargo had already been transferred to another ship, Ice Energy, which was hired by the United States and is moored off Piraeus port.

Following an appeal by an Iranian company on June 7, a Greek judicial panel overturned the court order that had allowed the confiscation of the cargo on behalf of the United States, clearing the way for Lana to retrieve it.

It was not immediately clear if it would do so, or if the U.S. or Greek governments would challenge the latest ruling.

The removal of oil from the Lana prompted Iranian forces last month to seize two Greek tankers in the Middle East Gulf and sail them back to Iran after Tehran warned of "punitive action" against Athens. They have not yet been released.

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Europe & RussiaGreeceIranMiddle EastNews
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