Iran releases two Greek tankers seized in May

Iran releases two Greek tankers seized in May
Iran releases two Greek-flagged tankers that it seized in the Gulf in May ending a months-long diplomatic impasse which has strained relations between Athens and Tehran. (AFP/File)
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Updated 16 November 2022

Iran releases two Greek tankers seized in May

Iran releases two Greek tankers seized in May
  • Iran detained the tankers in response to the confiscation of oil by the United States from an Iranian-flagged tanker off the Greek coast
  • Ship tracking data showed the vessels, Delta Poseidon and Prudent Warrior, were underway from Iran

ATHENS/LONDON: Iran has released two Greek-flagged tankers that it seized in the Gulf in May, the Greek shipping ministry said on Wednesday, ending a months-long diplomatic impasse which has strained relations between Athens and Tehran.
Iran detained the tankers in response to the confiscation of oil by the United States from an Iranian-flagged tanker off the Greek coast, fueling bilateral tensions amid a broader deterioration in relations between Iran and the West.
“The final agreement was reached today in Tehran,” the ministry said in a statement, confirming an earlier Reuters report of a deal.
Ship tracking data showed the vessels, Delta Poseidon and Prudent Warrior, were underway from Iran.
Delta Tankers confirmed in a statement that its vessel was released on Wednesday and said the tanker was sailing to the United Arab Emirates port of Fujairah for inspections before returning to Greece, its original destination.
“This is very good news and we are grateful to all those involved with securing this release. The crew are well and pleased to be on their way after many months,” the company said.
The Prudent Warrior’s destination was listed as the United Arab Emirates port of Khor Fakkan, according to Eikon data. Polembros shipping, which manages the vessel, has said that 17 out of 24 Greek and Filipino crew members have been replaced.
Merchant shipping remains prey to hazards in the Gulf.
A tanker was hit off the coast of Oman on Tuesday, sustaining minor damage to its hull, Israeli-controlled Eastern Pacific Shipping said on Wednesday. An Israeli official said Iran was responsible.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry confirmed separately on Wednesday it had released two Greek oil tankers and said that an Iranian-flagged tanker seized in Greece had also left Greek waters.
According to a memorandum signed by Iran and Greece, the parties will put in the necessary cooperation in order to improve maritime security, the ministry statement added.
Greek authorities in April impounded the Iranian-flagged tanker Lana, formerly Pegas, and its oil cargo near the coast of Evia, due to sanctions following legal action by the United States.
The United States later confiscated part of its oil cargo because of sanctions on Iran. The removal of oil from the Lana prompted Iranian forces in May to seize the two Greek tankers in the Gulf and sail them back to Iran. Tehran had warned of “punitive action” against Greece.
The Lana showed it was underway from Greece, with Istanbul listed as its destination, ship tracking data showed.
It was part of the agreement that all vessels leave on the same day, a Greek government source said on Wednesday.


Kuwait’s Prime Minister heads to Qatar for World Cup

Kuwait’s Prime Minister heads to Qatar for World Cup
Updated 13 sec ago

Kuwait’s Prime Minister heads to Qatar for World Cup

Kuwait’s Prime Minister heads to Qatar for World Cup
  • Visit came in response to invitation from the Qatari prime minister

DOHA: Kuwait’s Prime Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah headed to Qatar on Tuesday to attend a FIFA World Cup match in Doha, state news agency (KUNA) reported.

His visit came in response to the invitation from his Qatari counterpart Sheikh Khaled bin Khalifa Al Thani.

On Monday, the UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan visited Doha where he held talks with Qatar’s ruler Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.


1,200 Iranian students ‘poisoned’ on eve of mass protests

1,200 Iranian students ‘poisoned’ on eve of mass protests
Updated 3 min 12 sec ago

1,200 Iranian students ‘poisoned’ on eve of mass protests

1,200 Iranian students ‘poisoned’ on eve of mass protests
  • National student union blames outbreak on authorities
  • Streets surrounding universities littered with contaminated food dumped by students

LONDON: A group of 1,200 university students in Iran have been struck by a food poisoning outbreak on the eve of anti-regime demonstrations set to be held throughout the country, the Daily Telegraph reported.

The students at Kharazmi and Arak universities, as well as four other institutions, threw their provided food onto surrounding streets in protest, with the country’s national student union accusing authorities of deliberately poisoning people.

In a statement, the union said: “Our past experiences of similar incidents at the Isfahan university negates the authorities’ reason for this mass food poisoning.”

Officials have blamed the outbreak on water-borne bacteria.

However, clinics in several affected universities have also closed or run out of supplies to treat dehydration and other associated symptoms of food poisoning, in a sign that the outbreak may have been a deliberate strategy to thwart the national protest movement.

It came as a three-day nationwide strike was due to begin on Wednesday, intensifying public pressure against the regime.

Meanwhile, Iranian authorities denied reports that the regime would disband the country’s morality police.

The religious force was behind the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died in custody in September, triggering mass protests.

A state broadcaster said: “No official in the Islamic Republic of Iran has confirmed the closure of the morality police.

“Some foreign media have tried to characterize the attorney general’s statement as the Islamic Republic’s withdrawal from its hijab (laws) and influenced by the recent riots.”

As more Iranian public figures show support for the protest movement, authorities on Monday closed two businesses belonging to former national football team star Ali Daei.

The ex-striker, who scored 109 international goals, said last week that he had faced threats after showing public support for the anti-regime movement.

A jewelry store as well as a restaurant belonging to Daei were closed during the move by authorities.

A state news agency said: “Following the cooperation with anti-revolutionary groups in cyberspace to disrupt peace and business of the market, a judicial order was issued to seal Noor Jewelry Gallery.”


Iran arrests 12 with alleged European links: report

Iran arrests 12 with alleged European links: report
Updated 06 December 2022

Iran arrests 12 with alleged European links: report

Iran arrests 12 with alleged European links: report
  • Iran said the arrested had connections with Germany and Netherlands
  • The 12 individuals were arrested for carrying out “activities against national security”

TEHRAN: Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have arrested 12 alleged members of a European-linked group accused of planning acts of sabotage in the country, Tasnim news agency said.
The Islamic republic has been rocked by more than two months of what it calls deadly “riots” that it says have been fomented by the United States, its allies and foreign-based opposition groups.
The street violence erupted in mid-September after the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian woman of Kurdish origin, in the custody of the morality police in Tehran.
In a statement quoted by Tasnim, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Markazi province, southwest of Tehran, said it had arrested “a network with 12 members with links abroad.”
It alleged they had been “under the guidance of counter-revolutionary agents living in Germany and the Netherlands” and carried out “activities against national security.”
They had “attempted to procure weapons and intended to carry out subversive acts” but had been captured before being able to do so, it added.
The Guards statement said the “riots project has failed,” in reference to the nationwide protests triggered by Amini’s death.
It warned that acts of sabotage would continue, however, and appealed for the “vigilance of loyal people... especially shopkeepers, students and workers” to foil them.
It appeared to be referring to calls for a three-day strike culminating Wednesday on “Student Day,” as part of the protests.
An Iranian general said last week that more than 300 people have been killed in the unrest, including dozens of security personnel.
Oslo-based non-government organization Iran Human Rights said at least 448 people had been “killed by security forces in the ongoing nationwide protests.”
Thousands have been arrested, including prominent Iranian actors and footballers.


27-year-old Iranian subjected to three mock executions in prison: BBC

27-year-old Iranian subjected to three mock executions in prison: BBC
Updated 06 December 2022

27-year-old Iranian subjected to three mock executions in prison: BBC

27-year-old Iranian subjected to three mock executions in prison: BBC
  • Mock executions are a form of psychological torture in which a victim is made to feel that their execution is taking place but it is not carried out
  • Like others, the man's death sentence can be appealed, but Iranian judiciary chief said executions would take place soon

LONDON: A 27-year-old man who is one of six people sentenced to death in Iran over ongoing anti-regime protests has been subjected to several mock executions in prison, the BBC reported

Last month, a Revolutionary Court found Sahand Noormohammadzadeh guilty of acts of “vandalism and arson of public property with the aim of causing disruption to the country's peace and order and confronting the Islamic government,” according to the Mizan News Agency.

Prosecutors accused him of taking part in riots by blocking a highway and setting fire to bins and tires. They showed the court a video in which a man in a mask, whom they claimed was the defendant, is seen pushing a burning garbage can onto the road and placing a railing between two lanes.

Noormohammadzadeh protested his innocence and his lawyer told the court there was no evidence to suggest that his client was the masked man.

A source told BBC Persian that interrogators falsely informed Noormohammadzadeh that his mother had suffered a heart attack and that he must sign a letter if he wanted to speak to her before she died. The letter, according to a lawyer in Tehran, amounted to an admission of guilt, the BBC reported.

The court sentenced Noormohammadzadeh to death for “enmity against God” and he has been subjected to mock executions three times in prison, a source told BBC Persian.

A mock execution is a form of psychological torture whereby a victim is made to feel that their execution is taking place but is not carried out. The BBC’s source said that even before his trial, Noormohammadzadeh was told “to go on a chair, blindfolded, to be hanged.”

Amnesty International has warned that at least 21 people are at risk of being sentenced to death in “sham trials” over the protests in Iran.

While the sentences of the six defendants handed a death penalty can be appealed, judiciary chief Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei said on Monday that the executions would take place soon, the BBC reported.

About 18,200 people are estimated to have been arrested since the nationwide protests erupted in September in response to the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini, according to the Human Rights Activists News Agency. Many of them reportedly have been tortured or subjected to other forms of ill-treatment while in custody.


Giza pyramids backdrop for Dior fashion show 

Giza pyramids backdrop for Dior fashion show 
Updated 05 December 2022

Giza pyramids backdrop for Dior fashion show 

Giza pyramids backdrop for Dior fashion show 
  • Naomi Campbell, Lewis Hamilton and Robert Pattinson among celebrities attending Egypt event

CAIRO: French fashion house Dior held its first show at Egypt’s ancient Giza pyramids, presenting its 2023 fall men’s collection in the shadow of the millennia-old tombs.

Naomi Campbell, Lewis Hamilton, Robert Pattinson and K-pop star Cha Eun Woo were among the 800 guests at the show, which took place after sunset with the pyramids lit up in the background.

The event celebrated Egypt’s rich history and culture and put it on the fashion scene. It was well-received by the public, with people celebrating Egypt hosting such a spectacular, global event which received international praise.

Giza marked the fourth location for Dior’s tour after Tokyo, Miami and London.

“My interest in ancient Egypt is about the stars and the sky … It links to Christian Dior in that sense and by way of his fascination with symbols and superstitions that recur throughout his life and work,” men’s artistic director Kim Jones wrote in the show notes.

Egyptian celebrities such as Aladdin actor Mena Massoud, singer Hamaki, Okhtein founders Aya and Mounaz Abdel Raouf as well as rapper Marwan Moussa were also seen watching the show.

The show was a beautiful juxtaposition, with the models walking on the desert’s sand dressed in neutral futuristic outfits, which Jones has become known for.

Before the show, Dior took to the Grand Egyptian Museum, which is yet to be open for the general public, to show a collection guest designed by Tremaine Emor.

The collection was dominated by denim, plaid and varsity jackets.

Egypt hosting such a significant fashion event redefines the country from a solely tourist site to a location where creatives can meet and draw inspiration. 

Before the show, a number of Dior officials went sightseeing.

They visited Saqqara accompanied by Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Tourism and Antiquities Ministry’s Supreme Council of Antiquities. 

Wazir gave them an introductory tour of the area and the excavations taking place, and presented the Christian Dior Couture Chairman and CEO Pietro Beccari with a souvenir on behalf of the council. 

The CEO expressed his happiness at holding the show in Egypt, the ministry statement added.

Beccari urged his friends and Dior customers to visit Egypt and spend more time there to enjoy its unique archaeological and tourist areas.