Iran Releases Video Of IRGC Storming Greek Tankers, Blames US For ‘Escalation’
Iran is insisting that the Greek government use “legal and judicial” to resolve the standoff over two oil tankers that are now under Iranian military control.
Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said in a Monday press conference that ultimately the United States is to blame for the Greek tanker seizure, forcing retaliation and “illegal actions” that ensure escalation, according to Bloomberg. However, he stressed that the some nine total detained Greek crew members, and other international crew, are “in a good condition and in contact with their families.”
Last Friday, Greece’s foreign ministry confirmed that the Greek-flagged Delta Poseidon was boarded by Iranian militants via helicopter, later identified in international reports as IRGC operatives. The ministry had called the act “piracy” and a “violent taking over of two Greek-flagged ships.” At least two Greek citizens were detained in that first boarding.
“A similar incident was reported on another Greek-flagged ship, carrying seven Greek citizens, off the Iranian coast,” the ministry had described of the second ship, identified as Prudent Warrior, which is operated by the Greek company Polembros Shipping.
Last week Tehran vowed “punitive measures” against Greece for its assisting the United States in seizing an Iranian vessel and its oil over alleged sanctions violations. Greece has since warned its vessels in the gulf, believed to be at least a dozen in the vicinity of Iran’s coastal waters, to be in a heightened state of alert over the Iran threat.
Without doubt, Iran will demand nothing short of Greece releasing the tanker (which was Russian-flagged) and its oil back to Iranian custody.
On Sunday, the Iranians released dramatic video of the IRGC military operations which commandeered the pair of Greek tankers in the Persian Gulf.
Footage released by #Iranian media documenting the moment #Iran‘s Coast Guard seized two #Greek oil tankers. pic.twitter.com/iulItdmMF3
— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) May 30, 2022
The video is meant to send a message as a further provocation. In past instances, such as a similar prior seizure of a South Korean-flagged tanker in January 2021, Tehran used negotiations to free the crew and ship as leverage to get what it wants (in the prior case, to force South Korea to unfreeze assets held in its banks).
Iran appears poised for a potential return to a scenario akin to the 2019 summer of ‘tanker wars‘ – which was kicked off after Iran seized a British-flagged tanker in the Strait of Hormuz on July 4th of that year, in retaliation for the US/UK-ordered detention of Iran’s ‘Grace 1’ off Gibraltar.