Iran said Greece is preparing legal documents required for the release two Greek ships seized by the Islamic Republic in retaliation for an Iranian oil cargo that Athens detained to enforce US sanctions. 

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Saeed Khatibzadeh, told reporters that he hopes the Greek government will “in practice” in return release the Iranian tanker and cargo it seized. His comments come after a court in Greece overturned a decision that allowed the cargo to be confiscated.

The seizures have stoked tensions in the oil-rich Persian Gulf, where tit-for-tat attacks on ships and energy installations have been frequent since the US withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions on Iran. The latest dispute comes as negotiations to revive the landmark accord remain stalled amid a standoff about the removal of a Trump-era US terrorism designation on Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. 

Greek authorities seized the Iranian tanker and confiscated its cargo last month. At the time, Iranian officials said the seizure was made in coordination with the US. Days later, the IRGC diverted two Greek oil tankers into Iranian territorial waters in the Persian Gulf.