WATCH Iran's Forces Seizing Greek Tankers Over 'Maritime Violations'
13:46 GMT 31.05.2022 (Updated: 13:56 GMT 31.05.2022)
The forces of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) seized two Greek tankers on 27 May, which had been sailing through the Persian Gulf close to Iran's border. Recently Greece arrested a Russian tanker carrying Iranian oil at the behest of the US. The crude is reportedly being unloaded into another vessel to be transported to the US.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has released footage of its forces seizing Greek tankers
in the Persian Gulf on 27 May. The footage shows a group of IRGC soldiers being dropped off by a helicopter on one of the tankers' helipads and spreading out on the deck before securing the entire vessel.
The two tankers, the Prudent Warrior and Delta Poseidon, were seized over "maritime violations", the IRGC said without elaborating further. The incident happened not far from Iran's southern port of Asaluyeh. Their crews remain on board and are being supplied with the essentials, Iran said, responding to reports that they have been arrested.
US Calls Tankers' Seizure 'Threat' to Security… Despite Detaining Ships With Iranian Oil Itself
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has condemned the seizure of two Greek ships during talks with his counterpart in Athens, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias. Blinken called the arrest of the Greek vessels an "unjustified seizure" and a "threat" to security.
"Iran must immediately release the seized vessels, their cargoes, and their crews. Iran’s continued harassment of vessels and interference with navigational rights and freedoms are a threat to maritime security and the global economy", State Department spokesman Ned Price said, commenting on Blinken's talks with Dendias.
Blinken's claims that the seizing of ships constitutes a threat to maritime security comes less than a week after the US requested that Athens seize a Russian tanker with a cargo of Iranian oil
. The crude was reportedly transferred to another vessel, which will bring it to the US.
This is not the first time the US has arrested ships carrying Iranian oil, citing its unilateral sanctions against the Islamic Republic. Tehran says these arrests amount to "state piracy" and demanded that Washington stop this practice.
The arrest of Iranian oil happened amid a pause in multilateral talks between the signatories of the Iran nuclear deal and the US to restore the accord following Washington's unilateral withdrawal from it in 2018. The deal was close to being signed in February 2022, but the talks were abruptly frozen. Various media reports suggested various explanations: from Iran's response to another arrest of its cargo of oil by the US and Russia's alleged involvement, to disagreements over removing the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from the list of terrorist organisations by the US.
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