Iran seizes foreign oil tanker smuggling fuel in Gulf: state media

04 Août, 2019, 15:59 | Auteur: Christine Menetries
  • Iran seizes foreign oil tanker smuggling fuel in Gulf: state media

Iranian naval forces have seized a "foreign vessel" in the Gulf, state news agency IRNA reported Sunday, in the country's third such seizure in a month.

The seizing of this latest oil tanker comes after an Iranian general said only today that the chances of a conflict breaking out in the Gulf region have decreased, after a spate of hostile acts in the key waterway.

The seizure comes amid heightened tensions between the USA and Iran amid the breakdown of the nuclear deal that led the regime to exceed the threshold of low-enriched uranium stockpile as agreed upon in the 2015 accord.

The report said the seven crew members have been arrested by the Iranian authorities.

On July 18, the paramilitary force seized a United Arab Emirates-based oil tanker, the Panamanian-flagged MT Riah, for allegedly smuggling some 264,000 gallons of fuel from Iranian smugglers to foreign customers.

The nationality of the crew has not been revealed by Iran.

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Guards boats had been patrolling the Gulf to control traffic and detect illicit trade when they seized it, the Guards said in its statement.

A day later, the British-flagged Stena Impero tanker was impounded, in retaliation for the UK's capture of an Iranian oil tanker near Gibraltar, which Britain accused of violating sanctions on Syria.

"This foreign vessel had received the fuel from other ships and was transferring it to Persian Gulf Arab states", Gen. Ramazan Zirahi, a Guard commander, was quoted as saying.

Tensions has been gorwing in the Gulf in recent months as the USA has boosted its military presence.

'All countries which have interests in the region are by no means willing to see a new crisis in the Middle East.

'The military capabilities of our armed forces are to such an extent that the enemies don't dare go for a military option against us. Rouhani said US financial sanctions on Iran's foreign minister are "childish" and a barrier to diplomacy.

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