Iran’s IRGC Seizes Two Greek Oil Tankers In Persian Gulf

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard has seized two Greek oil tankers in helicopter-launched raids in the Persian Gulf about a week after the confiscation of Iranian oil from a tanker held off the Greek coast and its transfer to the US.

“The Revolutionary Guards Navy today (Friday) seized two Greek oil tankers for violations they have carried out in the waters of the Persian Gulf,” the IRGC said in a statement on Friday, shortly after Nour News — a website affiliated to the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), Ali Shamkhani — warned of “punitive action” against Athens due to the seizure. The statement gave no further details about the alleged violations.

The Greek tankers are Delta Poseidon and Prudent Warrior, and were captured near Asalouyeh off the coasts of Iran’s Bushehr Province and the Hendurabi island near Bandar Lengeh in Hormozgan province, respectively.

Nour News said on Twitter, “Following the seizure of an Iranian tanker by the Greek government and the transfer of its oil to the Americans, Iran has decided to take punitive action against Greece.”

The US Navy’s Mideast-based 5th Fleet said it was “looking into” reports about the seizure of the Greek oil tankers, with Commander Timothy Hawkins telling The Associated Press that the Navy was continuing to investigate, without further elaboration.

A US defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Washington Post that the two ships had apparently “come close to — but not in — Iranian territorial waters before the seizure,” adding that the ships also had turned off their tracking devices and neither had issued a mayday or a call for help.

In total, nine Greek nationals have been taken captive by the IRGC following the seizure of the two tankers.

Greek authorities last month impounded the Iranian-flagged Pegas, with 19 Russian crew members on board, near the coast of the southern island of Evia due to EU sanctions.

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