News ID: 103693
Publish Date : 14 June 2022 - 21:34
TEHRAN -- Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization (PMO) said Tuesday an Iranian-flagged tanker seized in April has been freed by Greece, according to the country’s Mehr news agency.
“The Greek government finally issued an order and we are now witnessing the lifting of the ship’s seizure and the return of its cargo to its owner,” the PMO told Mehr.
The ship, previously called Pegas and renamed Lana in March, had reported an engine problem in April.
It was reportedly headed to the southern Peloponnese Peninsula to offload its cargo onto another tanker but rough seas forced it to moor just off Karystos, on the island of Evia, where it was seized.
Its release comes after a Greek court overturned an earlier ruling last week that allowed the confiscation by the United States of part of the tanker’s Iranian oil cargo.
Athens had linked the tanker seizure in Greece to European Union sanctions imposed on Russia following its operation in Ukraine in February.
The tanker was initially Russian-flagged and had 19 Russian crew members on board at the time it was seized.
The tanker, which was reportedly carrying 115,000 tonnes of Iranian oil when it was seized, has been flying the Iranian flag since May 1. Iran and Russia face separate U.S. and EU sanctions.
Its seizure led to an angry response from Iran, which denounced the confiscation as “piracy” and warned it would take “punitive action” against Athens. Iranian forces seized two Greek tankers in the Persian Gulf last month.
A Greek court overturned an earlier ruling last week that allowed the confiscation by the United States of part of the Iranian-flagged tanker’s Iranian oil cargo off the Greek coast. 
Argentina Seizes Passports of Iranian Crew
Five Iranian crew of a cargo plane grounded in Argentina since last week have had their passports temporarily seized pending a probe into possible links to the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), officials said.
A judge on Monday ordered their travel documents held for an additional 72 hours after Security Minister Anibal Fernandez claimed information had been received from “foreign organizations” that some among the crew may be linked to companies with ties to the IRGC. 
A routine check found “things that were not logical,” Fernandez told Perfil radio on Monday. He said the five Iranians were in a hotel.
Officials originally said their passports had been taken but would be returned if they left the country on a scheduled flight while investigations continued into the plane’s origins.
The Venezuelan Boeing 747 cargo plane reportedly carrying car parts first landed in Cordoba, Argentina on Monday last week,
then tried to travel to neighboring Uruguay, but was denied entry and returned to Ezeiza outside Buenos Aires.
The crew also included 14 Venezuelans, who were free to go.
Iran said Monday Argentina’s move was part of a “propaganda” campaign against Tehran amid tensions with Western countries over negotiations to revive a 2015 nuclear deal.
The grounding of the Emtrasur plane came days before Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro visited Tehran on Saturday for the allies, both subject to U.S. sanctions, to sign a 20-year cooperation pact.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told reporters the grounding of the plane was part of efforts seeking to “cause a feeling of insecurity.”
The plane was sold by Iran’s Mahan Air to a Venezuelan company last year, he said.
“These recent weeks are filled with propaganda, are full of psychological operations, these wars of words that want to infiltrate the minds and composure of the people... this news is one of those,” said Khatibzadeh.
Monday’s court ruling to hold the crew’s passports came after a successful bid by the DAIA organization that represents Argentina’s Jewish community to be listed as a plaintiff in the investigation.
The grounding of the plane came as a resolution was adopted by the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Board of Governors to censure Iran after its chief Rafael Grossi made a controversial visit to Occupied Palestine ahead of the board’s meeting.


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