ATHENS (Reuters) – An Iranian-flagged tanker moored off the port of Piraeus is expected to recover some of its cargo seized by the United States this week and set to sail back to Iran after a ruling by Greece’s top court, government sources said on Wednesday with.
The case has strained relations between Athens and Tehran amid rising tensions between Iran and the United States.
The removal of oil from the Lana, formerly Pegas, prompted Iranian forces to seize two Greek tankers in the Middle East Gulf that have not yet been released.
“The judgment of the (Greek) Supreme Court … is in favor of Iran,” said a Greek government official, asking not to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter. The official said the verdict, which has not been made public, became known to the government on Tuesday.
Another officer confirmed the verdict. A government spokesman said the government would not comment on court decisions.
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For more than two months, the Iranian-flagged Lana remained in detention off the Greek island of Euboea, near the town of Karystos.
Greek authorities approved his release earlier this month after a court ruled in favor of an Iranian company, overturning a previous court order, and the ship was towed to Piraeus with engine problems.
Greek media reported that the United States challenged this decision and took the case to the Greek Supreme Court.
US government officials had no immediate comment.
Some of the ship’s Iranian oil cargo had been transshipped onto another vessel, Ice Energy, leased by the United States and also moored off the port of Piraeus.
“Lana is expected to get fuel and test his engine later today so he can start the oil transfer and sail by the end of the week,” the first official told Reuters.
(Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou, Lefteris Papadimas, Jonathan Saul, Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel)
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