The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) seized two Greek tankers in the Persian Gulf on Friday, citing “violations.”
The incident may be retaliation for an Iranian ship whose course was recently blocked by the Greek authorities in cooperation with the USA, after transporting crude oil in violation of the embargo.
The Greek Foreign Ministry has already taken action against the Iranian ambassador in Athens, and renewed the travel directive for Iran, urging citizens not to travel.
The announcement of the Greek Foreign Minister states:
“Upon instructions from the Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias, the Ministry’s Secretary General, Themistoklis Demiris, made a short while ago a strong-worded demarche to the Iranian Ambassador in Athens to protest the violent seizure of two Greek-flagged ships in the Gulf.
The aforementioned actions are essentially tantamount to acts of piracy.
The Secretary-General strongly condemned these acts, which are contrary to fundamental rules of international law and international navigation.
He called for the immediate release of the ships and their crews. He also stressed that these actions will have a particularly negative impact on bilateral relations, as well as on EU-Iran relations.
Earlier today, a helicopter of the Iranian navy landed to the Greek-flagged ship Delta Poseidon which was sailing in international waters (22 nautical miles off the coast of Iran) in the Gulf.
Armed men then captured the ship’s crew, including two Greek citizens. A similar incident was reported to have occurred on another Greek-flagged ship, aboard seven Greek nationals, off the Iranian coast.
The Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs has already informed the European External Action Service, the International Maritime Organization, as well as its allies and partners of Greece.
In light of the above, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises Greek citizens to avoid traveling to Iran.
Greek-flagged ships are required to follow the instructions of the Ministry of Shipping and Island Policy (of Greece), with which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is in close coordination and constant communication” the statement concludes for the 2 Greek tankers.