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Asharq Al-Awsat

Greece to Send Iranian Oil from Seized Ship to US

A Russian oil tanker. EPA file photo

Greece will send Iranian oil from a seized Russian-flagged tanker to the United States at the request of the US judiciary, Greek port police said Wednesday, a decision that angered Tehran.

Last month the Greek authorities seized the Pegas, which was said to have been heading to the Marmara terminal in Turkey.

The ship was moored at Karystos anchorage with its crew, said to be Russians, on board. The Greek coastguard said the vessel was renamed "Lana".

The authorities seized the ship in accordance with EU sanctions introduced after Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

According to information at the time, the tanker was carrying 115,000 tons of Iranian oil.

"Following a request from the US justice system, the oil is to be transferred to the United States at the expense of that country," a spokeswoman for the Greek port police told AFP on Wednesday.

Tehran strongly protested the decision, calling it "international robbery," the Iranian maritime authority said.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran will not waive its legal rights and expects the Greek government to adhere to its international obligations in the field of seafaring and shipping", the Ports and Maritime Organization of Iran added, in a statement posted on its website.

Iran's foreign affairs ministry late Tuesday called on the Greek government, via the International Maritime Organization, to release the tanker and its crew, adding that "Americans unloaded the cargo of the ship."

Athens did not respond immediately to the Iranian protests and provided no further details about the oil or how it would be transferred to the United States.