Iran releases crews of sized Greek tankers: Media
Iran releases the crews of the seized Greek tankers taken in response to Athens seizing an Iranian tanker at Washington's directions.
Tehran has allowed for the release of the crews of the two Greek-owned oil tankers seized by the Iranian authorities in May, the Greek ERT state-run broadcaster reported Sunday.
The Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) seized the tankers in the Gulf in May after Athens said it would plunder the Iranian oil it seized from an Iranian-flagged ship and give it to the United States.
The US ordered seizing the oil on an Iranian-flagged tanker near Greece, with the cargo set to be sent to the US through another ship, three informed sources indicated. The move was considered by Tehran as one of maritime piracy.
Iran's Foreign Ministry summoned the head of Greece's diplomatic mission for seizing cargo from a vessel flying the Iranian flag in Greek waters.
The head of the Mediterranean and East European affairs at Iran's Foreign Ministry stated that Greece's "unacceptable" surrender to "illegal" US pressures was "an example of international piracy."
The official also stated that Iran "will not relinquish its legal rights and expects the Greek government to honor its international commitments in the maritime and shipping sectors."
The 49 crew members of Delta Poseidon and Prudent Warrior, including ten Greek sailors and one Cypriot, were held in the Gulf for over three months.
During the recent visit of a Greek delegation to Iran, the Iranian side took a significant step back and agreed to the replacement of the two crews, ERT TV quoted the Panhellenic Union of Merchant Navy Sailors as saying on Sunday.
The release of the sailors is expected to begin on Monday with the crew members of the Prudent Warrior ship, while the members of the Delta Poseidon will follow.
The release of the detainees took place after the Embassy of Iran in Athens confirmed that the oil stolen by Greece from Lana would be returned to Tehran.
"Stolen Iranian oil is being transferred to the Lana in Greek waters and will soon leave for our country with a full cargo of oil," the Embassy said.
The Greek Supreme Court rejected an appeal by Greek shipping firm Dynacom against the Iranian-flagged tanker Lana and ordered the return of 60,000 tons of crude oil (out of the total 104,134 tons carried by Lana).
Iranian media outlets said that Tehran has made the decision to take punitive measures against Greece on account of the latter's seizing of an Iranian oil tanker close to its coasts for no valid reason whatsoever.