iran: Iran seizes 2 Greek tankers in Persian Gulf as tensions rise – Occasions of India

DUBAI: Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard seized two Greek oil tankers Friday in helicopter-launched raids within the Persian Gulf, officers stated. The motion seemed to be retaliation for Athens’ help within the US seizure of crude oil from an Iranian-flagged tanker this week within the Mediterranean Sea over violating Washington’s crushing sanctions on the Islamic Republic. The raid marks the primary main incident at sea in months as tensions stay excessive between Iran and the West over its tattered nuclear cope with world powers. As Tehran enriches extra uranium, nearer to weapons-grade ranges than ever earlier than, worries mount that negotiators will not discover a approach again to the accord – elevating the chance of a wider warfare. The Guard issued an announcement asserting the seizures, accusing the tankers of unspecified violations. Nour Information, a web site near Iran’s Supreme Nationwide Safety Council, warned a short while earlier that Tehran deliberate to take “punitive motion” over Greece helping the US in seizing oil days earlier from the Iranian-flagged tanker Lana. Greece’s International Ministry stated it made a powerful demarche to the Iranian ambassador in Athens over the “violent taking up of two Greek-flagged ships” within the Persian Gulf. “These acts successfully quantity to acts of piracy,” a ministry assertion stated. The ministry known as for the rapid launch of the vessels and their crews, warning the seizure would have “notably detrimental penalties” in bilateral relations and in Iran’s relations with the European Union, of which Greece is a member. An Iranian helicopter landed on the Greek-flagged Delta Poseidon in worldwide waters, some 22 nautical miles off the coast of Iran, the ministry stated. “Armed males then took the crew captive,” it stated, including that two Greek nationals had been among the many crew. “An analogous incident has been reported on one other Greek-flagged vessel, that was carrying seven Greek residents, near the coast of Iran,” the ministry stated. A Greek official, talking on situation of anonymity to debate particulars of the assault with a journalist, recognized the second ship because the Prudent Warrior. Its supervisor, Polembros Delivery in Greece, earlier stated the corporate was “cooperating with the authorities and making each doable effort to handle the state of affairs successfully.” Greek officers didn’t determine the nationalities of the opposite crew on board the vessels. Each vessels had come from Iraq’s Basra oil terminal, loaded with crude, in response to monitoring knowledge from Prudent Warrior simply earlier than had been off Qatar and certain loaded oil there as properly, the information confirmed. A US protection official, talking on situation of anonymity to debate intelligence issues, stated it appeared the 2 ships had come near – however not into – Iranian territorial waters Friday. After the hijacking, they drifted into Iranian waters. The ships additionally had turned off their monitoring units – one other pink flag, the official stated. Nonetheless, neither had issued a mayday or a name for assist, the official stated. Iran’s seizure on Friday was the newest in a string of hijackings and explosions to roil a area that features the Strait of Hormuz, the slim mouth of the Persian Gulf by way of which a fifth of all traded oil passes. The incidents started after then-President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from Iran’s nuclear cope with world powers, which noticed Tehran drastically restrict its enrichment of uranium in trade for the lifting of financial sanctions. The US Navy blamed Iran for a sequence of limpet mine assaults on vessels that broken tankers in 2019, in addition to for a deadly drone assault on an Israeli-linked oil tanker that killed two European crew members in 2021. Iranian hijackers additionally stormed and briefly captured a Panama-flagged asphalt tanker off the United Arab Emirates final yr, and briefly seized and held a Vietnamese tanker in November. Tehran denies finishing up the assaults, however a wider shadow warfare between Iran and the West has performed out within the area’s unstable waters. Tanker seizures have been part of it since 2019, when Iran seized the British-flagged Stena Impero after the UK detained an Iranian oil tanker off Gibraltar. Iran launched the tanker months later as London additionally launched the Iranian vessel. Iran final yr additionally seized and held a South Korean-flagged tanker for months amid a dispute over billions of {dollars} of frozen property Seoul holds. “This incident is assessed to be a retaliatory motion in keeping with a historical past of Iranian forces detaining vessels in a tit-for-tat method,” maritime intelligence agency Dryad World warned. “Consequently, Greek-flagged vessels working inside the neighborhood of Iran within the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman are at the moment assessed to be at a heightened danger of interception and it’s suggested to keep away from this space till additional discover.” Underlining that risk, Iran’s semiofficial Tasnim information company warned in a tweet: “There are nonetheless 17 different Greek ships within the Persian Gulf that may very well be seized.” In the meantime, the Guard is constructing an enormous new assist ship close to the Strait of Hormuz because it tries to increase its naval presence in waters important to worldwide power provides and past, in response to satellite tv for pc images obtained by The Related Press. Talks in Vienna over Iran’s tattered nuclear deal have been stalled since April. Because the deal’s collapse, Iran runs superior centrifuges and has a quickly rising stockpile of enriched uranium. Nonproliferation consultants warn Iran has enriched sufficient as much as 60% purity – a brief technical step from weapons-grade ranges of 90% – to make one nuclear weapon if it select. Iran insists its program is for peaceable functions, although United Nations consultants and Western intelligence companies say Iran had an organized army nuclear program by way of 2003. Constructing a nuclear bomb would nonetheless take Iran extra time if it pursued a weapon, analysts say, although they warn Tehran’s advances make this system extra harmful. Israel has threatened up to now it should perform a preemptive strike to cease Iran – and already is suspected in a sequence of current killings concentrating on Iranian officers.

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