A Greek oil tanker that was seized by Iran in the U.S. has tens of thousands of gallons of oil worth more than $100 million that are headed for the U.S., according to an administration official and former administration official.
The tanker Prudent Warrior was travelling from Iraq to Texas in late May when Iran seized the tanker in international waters in the Persian Gulf and led it into Iranian territorial waters, according to the officials.
We don't have any comment on the destination of the ship or oil. A State Department spokeswoman said that the US condemned the seizure of two Greek-flagged vessels by the IRGC on May 27 and we have no comment on our diplomatic engagements. The United States continues to stand with Greece, our key NATO ally and partner in the face of this unjustified seizure. Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei confirmed that the Iranian military seized two tankers, the Prudent Warrior and the Delta Poseidon, by launching Iranian military forces from helicopters in the Persian Gulf. He said Iran confiscated the tankers in retaliation for Greece helping the U.S. seize an Iranian-flagged tanker with crude oil in the Mediterranean Sea in April.
Greek authorities last month impounded the Iranian-flagged Pegas, with 19 Russian crew members on board, near the coast of the southern island of Evia due to European Union sanctions.
The Iranian oil cargo was taken from the U.S. later, according to Reuters.
On Wednesday, a Greek court reversed the decision that allowed the U.S. to confiscate the oil.
Experts say the oil on each tanker seized by Iran is worth well over $100 million.
As hopes for a new nuclear deal with Iran fades, the tensions between the US and Iran continue to escalate. Negotiations are at a standstill while Tehran continues to enrich uranium closer to weapons-grade level. The UN said Iran had started to remove 27 monitoring cameras that are supposed to track Iran's nuclear work, calling it a potentially fatal blow for salvaging the 2015 deal.
There have been more attacks against bases housing U.S. military personnel in Iraq and Syria in May, with as many attacks as the three previous months combined. There were seven attacks in May, up from three in April, three in March and one in February. No Americans have been killed in these incidents.
Iran's mission to the United Nations did not respond to a request for comment.