May 31, 2022
OTTAWA – In the wake of the May 27 hijacking of two Greek oil tankers by Iran’s terrorist Islamic Revolutionary Guard (IRGC), B’nai Brith Canada is urging the Canadian Government to take concrete action.
B’nai Brith has written to Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Melanie Joly, calling on Canada to demand the immediate release of the tankers and their crews and to implement sanctions against Iran.
“Iran is a rogue state and needs be treated as such by the international community,” said Michael Mostyn, B’nai Brith’s Chief Executive Officer. “Like the IRGC’s callous shooting down of Ukraine International Airlines flight PS-752, resulting in the deaths of all 176 aboard, this is an illegal act flouting international law. There must be consequences.”
Greece has categorized the hijackings as “actions tantamount to acts of piracy,” warning Greek citizens to avoid travelling to Iran, while strongly protesting to the Iranian ambassador in Athens. The United States joined in the condemnation, calling it “a threat to maritime security,” while France denounced it as “a serious violation of international law.”
“The hijacking of the Greek tankers is appalling, undermining maritime law and threatening the vitality of the world economy,” said Marvin Rotrand, B’nai Brith’s National Director of its League for Human Rights. “The Arabian Gulf is a key shipping lane. Iranian terrorist acts that hinder free navigation through it must be vigorously challenged.”
One of the Greek tankers was in international waters, the other on a lawful pre-approved routing in Iranian waters. The Greek foreign ministry states that Iranian navy helicopters landed armed men on both tankers and seized them for hostage diplomacy.
B’nai Brith is in contact with the Embassy of Greece to offer its support.
In February, 2020, B’nai Brith filed a lawsuit against the Canadian Government, citing its failure to comply with a bipartisan parliamentary motion, now nearly four years old, to list the IRGC as a terrorist organization.