Iran protests ship seizure in Greek waters

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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iranian state media reported Friday that Tehran had demanded the release of a ship seized by Greek authorities in their waters allegedly under pressure from Washington last month.

The Foreign Ministry summoned the Swiss envoy, who represents the United States in Tehran because it has no embassy there, to file a diplomatic protest against the incident. Greek media described the vessel as a tanker carrying Iranian crude oil in violation of international sanctions.

Iran called the move a “violation of international maritime law and international conventions” in its protest, the IRNA news agency reported.


On Wednesday, Iran summoned the Greek charge d’affaires over the matter. A day later, a Greek official said that following “legal intervention by US authorities regarding the ship’s cargo”, the ship’s oil was being transferred to another ship off the port of Karystos on the Evia Island, in the Aegean Sea.

The incident comes amid heightened tensions between the United States and Iran, which has been under international sanctions since former President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and Iran. Iran and world powers in 2018.

Earlier, the United States seized the cargo of two tankers suspected of carrying Iranian oil as part of an elaborate sanctions-busting scheme that involved forging documents and painting a ship’s deck to hide illegal shipments.

Details of the seizure were contained in an unsealed federal civil case in February after Greek-run ships unloaded their precious cargo, worth around $38 million, in Houston and the Bahamas under the leadership of US law enforcement.

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