Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps said on Friday that its naval forces in the Persian Gulf had seized two oil tankers belonging to Greece, escalating tensions between Iran and the West at a time when diplomatic efforts to revive the deal limiting Iran’s nuclear program have stalled.
The two ships were seized in retaliation for Greece impounding an oil tanker in April carrying Iranian oil near its shore, with the seizure carried out at the request of the United States, according to reports in two semiofficial Iranian news agencies, Tasnim and Fars News, which are affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards.
The cargo of Iranian oil was then handed over to the United States for being in violation of American sanctions that ban Iran from selling its oil, according to Iranian news media, a claim that could not be independently verified.
According to The Associated Press, citing an anonymous Greek official, U.S. authorities had made a formal request that the ship’s cargo be seized and that Greece hand over the oil at one of its ports.
The incident on Friday caps a tense week in Iran that started on Sunday with the killing of a senior member of the Guards in Tehran in a drive-by shooting, in an attack carried out by Israel, according to both Iran and intelligence officials. Then on Wednesday, a drone attack on the sensitive Parchin military site killed an engineer employed by Iran’s Defense Ministry.
Click here to read more.
SOURCE: The New York Times, Farnaz Fassihi