Greece turns away Iranian tanker
Athens has refused to allow the Iranian supertanker Adrian Darya 1 to enter Greek ports. The ship left Gibraltar on Monday after being detained there for six weeks. The US government suspects the tanker is heading for Syria and has warned Mediterranean countries against supporting Iran. Greece's press explains why Athens had no choice but to turn the vessel away.
Avoiding a fall-out with the US
Naftemporiki explains why Greece was forced to cede to pressure from Washington:
“Greek-American relations have never been better than in recent years. ... Greece remains dependent on support from the US now that Turkey is drilling in Cyprus's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), and drilling is also planned in Greece's EEZ. ... One of the reasons why Ankara is being careful is the US's support for the Greek Cypriot side. But this support will be on very shaky ground if the Iranian ship reaches a Greek port.”
Athens in a double bind
Athens will not have taken the decision to turn away the Iranian tanker lightly, To Vima Online explains:
“On the one hand the Greek government has invested huge resources in improving Greek-American relations in the belief that this could strengthen Greece's position, particularly in view of current tensions in Greek-Turkish relations. ... However, if Greece complies with the US sanctions there is the risk that Iran will retaliate against Greek-owned ships in the Persian Gulf. And that's no trivial matter when you bear in mind that the Greek-owned fleet is still the biggest in the world.”