Iranian Supreme Leader Imam Sayyid Ali Khamenei uploaded a video of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps seizing Greek-flagged oil tankers in the Persian Gulf to his social media account.
“They stole Iran’s oil on the coast of Greece, then brave Iranians retaliated and confiscated the enemy’s oil tankers. But in the mainstream media’s propaganda, Iran is accused of theft. Who’s the thief? You who stole our oil or us who took it back?” he wrote on Twitter.
The Greek oil tankers Delta Poseidon and Prudent Warrior were seized by the IRGC in the Persian Gulf last week in a tit-for-tat move.
Dramatic footage showing armed IRGC officers descending onto the deck of one of the vessels from a helicopter was broadcast on Iranian state TV on Monday.
Greek Merchant Marine Minister Ioannis Plakiotakis described the incident as a threat to the security of shipping and commerce.
“We call on all nations to act to put an end to this unacceptable incident and ensure that it does not happen again,” he said on Friday.
On Thursday, the Greek Coast Guard and independent monitoring services said the two tankers were moored at the Iranian port of Bandar. At least nine Greek nationals and one Cypriot were on board.
Tehran has stated that the crews were in “good health” and had not been detained.
The move came just days after Athens announced that it would hand over a reported 700,000 barrels of Iranian crude from a Russian-flagged tanker it impounded in April over to the US.
The Russian vessel, which tried to switch its flag to Iran at the eleventh hour, was seized due to global sanctions linked to Russia’s war with Ukraine. US and EU sanctions also bar countries from buying Iranian petrochemical products.
Both Germany and France’s foreign ministries have also condemned the seizure of the Greek tankers and called on Tehran to release the ships with their crew. The Iranian government called the statements “biased” and “inappropriate interference”.
Iran has called the statements “one-sided” and “inappropriate interference.”
Tehran noted that France and Germany “are protesting against the legal measures taken in Iran” while “remaining silent” on Greece’s own seizure of the tanker, which it said was Iranian.