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Iran To Release Crew Of Two Seized Greek Tankers, Greek Seafarers Union Says

ATHENS, Greece - Iran has agreed to release the crews of two Greek tankers it seized in May in the Gulf, in response to the confiscation of oil by United States from an Iranian - flagged tanker in Greece, the Greek union of commercial ships' seafarers said.

The case has strained relations between Athens and Tehran as tensions grow between Iran and the United States.

The tankers' crew will be replaced, allowing their return to their countries of origin soon, PENEN union said in a statement on its website on Sunday.

It was not clear whether the two Greek tankers, the MT Prudent Warrior and Delta Poseidon, would be released, it added.

Iran's foreign ministry could not confirm the information.

'We have no confirmation to this moment about a release', Iran's foreign ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said, adding that he hoped 'there would be positive developments in the future'.

A Greek official said that the effort to free crews was still underway and progressing.

'We believe that the next hours or in a couple of days there will be a positive outcome', said o Greek official with knowledge of the situation.

The official said that the release of the tankers would take longer than the replacement of the crews.

The Iranian - flagged tanker Lana, formerly Pegas, was seized by Greece in April and was held for months. The United States had confiscated part of its oil cargo due to sanctions.

The removal of oil from the Lana prompted Iranian forces in May to seize two Greek tankers in the Middle East Guld and sail them back to Iran after Tehran warned of 'punitive action' against Athens.

Lana, which had engine problems, was officially released in July. Anchored off the Greek port of Piraeus since then, it has retrieved the oil cargo than the United States had confiscated and is expected to sail back to Iran.

Polembros shipping, manager of the MT Prudent Warrior, said in a statement on Monday that the crew communicates with their families almost on a daily basis and 'they are in good health and are treated well'.



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