Iran says tankers seized because Greece ‘stole’ oil – Reuters

Seizure of ships was in retaliation, says Ayatollah Ali Khamenei



File photo used for illustrative purposes

By AFP

Published: Sat 4 Jun 2022, 5:21 PM

Iran’s supreme leader said on Saturday that the country’s seizure of two Greek oil tankers late last month was a retaliation against Greece for “stealing” Iranian oil.

The Revolutionary Guards boarded and took control of the two vessels in the Gulf on May 27, citing “violations”, which Greece condemned as “amounting to acts of piracy”.

The seizure came two days after Greece confirmed it would send 115,000 tonnes of Iranian oil from a Russian-flagged tanker, seized in April, to the United States at the request of the US Treasury and in accordance with the sanctions regime. of the last.

“Iranian fuel was stolen off Greece and then the Islamic Republic (forces) compensated for that by seizing an enemy vessel,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a televised address.

“You are the one who stole our oil,” Khamenei said.

Washington, Germany and France have all called on Iran to release the ships.

Athens said Iranian navy helicopters landed gunmen on the two tankers to carry out the seizures.

Greek authorities had previously seized the Russian-flagged ship, they said, to comply with sanctions introduced after Russia invaded Ukraine in February. The Iranian maritime authority had described this decision as an “international flight”.

Steve R. Hansen