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Greek Court Overrules Decision to Comply With US Request to Seize Cargo of Iranian Oil Tanker

Samizdat – 09.06.2022

An Iranian tanker carrying oil was stopped off the Greek coast at the request of the US, based on unilateral sanctions targeting Iran’s oil trade. Tehran condemned Athens for bending to Washington’s orders and lambasted the impounding as an act of state piracy.

A Greek Appeals court overruled an earlier ruling that had prompted impounding of Iranian tanker Lana’s oil cargo in favour of the US, Iran’s embassy in Athens has stated. The confiscation of the cargo was earlier appealed by Tehran.

It is unclear if either Athens or the US will be challenging the decision of the Appeals court, however, an anonymous source claimed in an interview with Reuters that it might not be easy to achieve.

“The action for the reversal of the ruling was accepted by the court. It will be hard to overrule [the appeal court’s ruling]”, the legal source claimed.

The oil in question was removed from Luna to another vessel hired by the US authorities in May as the court was still reviewing Tehran’s appeal. It was then supposed to be moved to the US, but it is unclear if the ship transporting the Iranian oil, which now must be returned to the owner, has reached US shores.

Iran’s embassy in Greece expressed hope that the crude can still be returned. The embassy said that it is conducting “intensive consultations” with Athens to “ensure full implementation” of the court’s latest ruling.

“With God’s grace, the entire oil shipment will be returned [to Iran],” the embassy said.

The tanker Luna itself has since been released and arrested by Greek authorities again. The first time the ship was arrested was in April in a response to the order coming from the US, which slapped sanctions on Iran’s oil industry and now hunts for its oil tankers around the world. The second arrest, however, is related to unpaid towing services, according to report by Reuters citing a lawyer representing an unnamed company behind the arrest order.

Iran condemned the actions of Athens, equalling them to state piracy and vowing to respond. Several weeks later Iran seized two Greek ships sailing on the fringes of Iranian national waters, accusing both of “maritime violations”. Athens slammed the arrest of the ships sailing under its flag, while several media outlets alleged that their arrest could have been a retaliation for impounding Luna’s cargo.

Iran’s top security official: Retaliatory measure best way to defend country against bullying

Press TV – June 9, 2022

The secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) says the change in Greece’s approach to illegal confiscation of an Iranian tanker on the US order proves that retaliatory measure is the best way to protect the country against bullying.

Ali Shamkhani made the remark in a Thursday tweet after reports indicated that a Greek court has overturned an earlier ruling that allowed the United States to confiscate part of a shipment of Iranian crude on an Iranian-flagged vessel seized in the European country’s territorial waters.

“The action for the reversal of the ruling was accepted by the court,” a source familiar with the matter said on Wednesday, Reuters reported. “It will be hard to overrule that (the appeal court’s ruling).”

The change in Greece’s behavior came after Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) retaliated Athens’ measure by seizing two Greek ships in the Persian Gulf for violations of rules and regulations. Tehran had already announced that it was going to take “punitive action” against Athens.

Reacting to the Greek court’s verdict, Shamkhani said, “The change in Greece’s behavior following Iran’s proportionate and powerful reaction to illegal seizure of its tanker on the US’ order, along with scores of other experiences, proves that the sole way to defend the country’s rights in the face of bullying, both in the case of JCPOA and in the [International Atomic Energy] Agency is retaliatory measure.”

Iran’s embassy in Athens on Thursday confirmed that the Greek Appeals court has overturned the initial ruling on the confiscation of Iranian oil following intensive follow-up.

“With God’s grace, the entire oil shipment will be returned [to Iran],” the embassy tweeted.

It added that the issue will remain on the agenda of “intensive consultations” between Iran and Greece to “ensure full implementation of the ruling.”

The embassy emphasized that preserving the Iranian nation’s rights is a red line.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry late last month summoned the Greek chargé d’affaires to protest the seizure of the Iranian-flagged vessel and confiscation of its crude cargo.

The ministry official condemned Greece’s “unacceptable” surrender to “illegal” US pressures and said the “seizure of the cargo of the ship” with the flag of the Islamic Republic of Iran was “an example of international piracy.”

June 9, 2022 - Posted by | Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | , , ,

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