Athens says Iranian tanker “not heading to Greece”

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (VOP TODAY NEWS) — The Iranian oil tanker Adrian Daria, which the United States wants to intercept on suspicion of seeking to transport oil to Syria, is not heading for Greece, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Thursday during a visit to France.

The Greek official said in an interview with the network “France 24” that the Iranian tanker “is not going to Greece and we have not received any request to allow anchoring in a Greek port.”

“What we know is that the tanker is not heading to a Greek port,” said Mitsotakis, who was received by French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday.

The tanker, carrying 130,000 tonnes of crude, had earlier said it was heading to the port of Kalamata in the south of the Greek Mora peninsula. But Greek Assistant Foreign Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis said Wednesday that she was “unable to dock at a Greek port because of its large size.”

“If the tanker enters Greek waters, it will only be able to dock at sea and we will study the situation,” Varvitsiotis told Greek television.

He added that Athens “does not want in any way to facilitate the transfer of oil to Syria,” adding that the Greek authorities “came under pressure” from the United States.

The Iranian tanker was intercepted in Gibraltar on July 4 and returned and sailed Sunday to Kalamata port, it was officially announced.

The tanker was on Thursday off the eastern Algerian city of Skikda, according to the Marine Traffic website.

Several Greek experts said in response to AFP that the tanker may be trying to transport its cargo of crude oil to small tankers, and this usually happens in international waters near Greece, Cyprus or Malta.

The Wall Street Journal said Cyprus could be an “alternative destination,” adding that the tanker now needed to refuel.

But the newspaper quoted experts in the field that Cyprus is not ready to help the Iranian tanker.

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