US Seizes 6,00,000 Barrels of Smuggled Iranian Oil on Russian Ship; Tehran Calls It International Banditry

The US seized an Iranian oil shipment near Greece as it was on a Russian-operated ship, according to a report. The cargo on the vessel now would be sent to the US by another vessel, sources have revealed.

The US has imposed separate sanctions on Russia and Iran but it's not clear on what basis the cargo was seized.

US Department of Justice Informed Greece About Iranian Oil

A source at Greece's shipping ministry said on Thursday that the US Department of Justice had "informed Greece that the cargo on the vessel is Iranian oil". The cargo has been transferred to another ship that was hired by the US, the source told Reuters, without providing further details.

Iranian Foreign Ministry summoned Greek's ambassador on Wednesday. Tehran called the seizure of the ship international banditry and condemned Greek for surrendering to the US.

Oil Being Transferred to Ice Energy Ship

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Oil tanker Reuters (Representational Image)

Meanwhile, ship-tracking services have confirmed that Ice Energy, a Greek-owned tanker, is stationed close to Russia's Lana ship. And the ship-to-ship oil transfer began on Monday afternoon.

Dynacom, a firm that owns the Ice Energy ship, also asserted that once the oil transfer is completed, the vessel will sell to the US.

Lana was stranded in Greek waters for weeks as it faced technical issues and poor weather. The ship was anchored at Karystos port, where Tehran claims the vessel didn't receive any help from Greek officials.

Iran expressed its anger against the seizure, calling it an act of piracy.

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Representational Image of an oil tanker Reuters

The seizure of the oil could also threaten the US' plan to revive the Iran nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The US pulled itself out of the deal under the Trump administration.

The US seized approximately 2 million barrels of Iranian oil in 2021 from a ship off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, and the spoils were reportedly sold for a tidy sum of $110 million–another considerable haul, especially when combined with the 1.16 million barrels the US took by force from Iran in 2020, according to Sputnik.