On Friday, Iranian forces seized two Greek-flagged ships in the Persian Gulf in apparent retaliation for Athens’ role in helping the US steal Iranian oil off a tanker that was being held off Greece’s coast.
“The Revolutionary Guards Navy today seized two Greek tankers for violations in Gulf waters,” Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said in a statement.
The Greek Foreign Ministry said the Greek-flagged Delta Poseidon was boarded by a helicopter about 22 miles off the coast of Iran and that armed men took the crew captive. The Foreign Ministry said a similar incident happened on another Greek-flagged ship nearby, but didn’t name the vessel.
The incident came after Iran warned Greece that it would take “punitive action” over the US seizure of its oil. Last month, Greece impounded the Iranian-flagged Lana, which was previously Russian-flagged and named the Pegas. It’s not clear if it was initially seized to enforce EU sanctions on Russia or sanctions on Iran.
Greece informed the US that the Lana was carrying Iranian oil, leading Washington to confiscate the cargo. The ship was released by Greece reportedly over confusion about sanctions enforcement, but the oil is being shipped to the US.
The US has a history of stealing Iranian gas and oil shipments under the guise of sanctions enforcement. Last year, the US sold a shipment of Iranian oil for $110 million it took from a tanker off the coast of the UAE.