Iranian forces reportedly seized two Greek tankers in the Gulf on Friday, shortly after Tehran warned it would take “punitive action” against Athens over the confiscation of Iranian oil by the U.S. from a tanker held off the Greek coast.
“The IRGC Navy today seized two Greek oil tankers for violations they have carried in the azure waters of the Persian Gulf,” Iran’s Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) said in a statement on their official website.
IRGC did not elaborate on what the “violations” were.
On Wednesday, Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization (PMO) issued a statement describing the U.S. seizure of the Iranian oil cargo from a Russian-operated ship in Greece’s territorial waters as an “act of piracy” that was “in violation of international standards.” The PMO said the vessel had been held by the Greek government on the coasts of that country, and the cargo on board the ship was seized upon court order and in coordination with the U.S. government.
On Thursday, Reuters quoted unnamed sources as saying that the U.S. Department of Justice had confiscated 700,000 barrels of Iranian oil cargo seized last month off the southern Greek island of Evia onboard a Russian-operated ship.
Iran’s Tasnim News Agency reported citing Lloyd’s List Intelligence that in two seemingly similar operations, the suezmaxes Delta Poseidon and Prudent Warrior, both under Greek flag, were seized by Iranian forces on Friday afternoon. While Delta Poseidon was sailing in international waters at the time, the second tanker was near the Iranian coast when seized.
Iranian navy helicopters landed gunmen on the two tankers earlier in the day, the report claimed.