The fact that Russia blocks Ukraine grain exports in the Black Sea and Iran seizes Greek tankers transferring oil in the Persian Gulf may bolster arguments to have navy ships escorting civilian tankers, according to analyst Cornelius Adebahr.
The EU is exploring ways to unlock grain exports from Ukraine and ship securely through the Black Sea, the Marmara Sea, and then through the Mediterranean.
To allow grain exports, the Kremlin has asked the EU to lift some sanctions imposed against Moscow due to its invasion of Ukraine, something that Germany and others have completely ruled out.
Simultaneously, Iran seized two Greek oil tankers in the Persian Gulf to retaliate for Greece’s move to seize an Iranian tanker and let the US confiscate its crude oil.
“These two events, if seen separately, they allow for this kind of narrative, that you know, there are these countries that endanger freedom of navigation, and then something has to be done about it,” Adebahr from Carnegie Europe, a European foreign and security policy analysis think-tank told EURACTIV.com.
“And then this may be military, navy ships escorting civilian tankers in the Persian Gulf, or maybe navy ships escorting Ukrainian ships carrying grain and other foodstuffs through the Black Sea. So this is a discussion that may be coming,” he said.
According to Greek press reports, Athens is refusing to compensate Teheran for the seizure of the tanker, while on Monday, the United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on Iran to release the two Greek tankers immediately.