DUBAI (Reuters) – Iranian forces seized a overseas oil tanker within the Gulf that was smuggling gas to Arab states and has detained seven crewmen, Iran’s state media reported on Sunday.
The vessel was intercepted close to Iran’s Farsi Island within the Gulf, Iran’s semi-official Fars information company stated. Lebanon’s al-Mayadeen TV station reported that it was seized on Wednesday.
“The IRGC’s naval forces have seized a overseas oil tanker within the Persian Gulf that was smuggling gas for some Arab nations,” state tv quoted Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander Ramezan Zirahi as saying.
It was carrying 700,000 liters of gas, he stated. Seven crewmen of various nationalities have been detained.
“The seizure of the oil tanker was in coordination with Iran’s judiciary authorities and based mostly on their order,” Fars quoted him as he as saying.
Tensions have risen between Iran and the West since final yr when the US pulled out of a global settlement which curbed the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program in return for an easing of financial sanctions on Iran.
In July, British forces seized an Iranian oil tanker close to Gibraltar, accused it of violating sanctions on Syria.
Then Iran seized a British tanker within the Strait of Hormuz for alleged marine violations. It allowed a second one to proceed after issuing a warning.
Describing the seizure of the Stena Impero within the Strait of Hormuz as unlawful, Britain has rejected the concept it may launch the Iranian tanker in trade for the British-flagged vessel seized by the Revolutionary Guards.
Fears of a Center East conflict with world repercussions have risen since Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal and revived a panoply of sanctions meant to push Tehran into wider safety concessions.
Iran has retaliated by resuming uranium enrichment seen within the West as a possible conduit to growing an atom bomb. Nevertheless it faces extreme financial harm beneath intensified U.S. sanctions designed to strangle its very important oil commerce.
After a number of assaults in Might and June on oil tankers – blamed by Washington on Tehran, which denied accountability – Trump has been making an attempt to forge a navy coalition to safe Gulf waters, although European allies have been loath to affix for worry of frightening open battle.
European events to the deal – Britain, France and Germany – have as a substitute appealed for diplomatic strikes to defuse the disaster and have been making an attempt to salvage the pact by exploring methods to defend Iran’s financial system from U.S. sanctions.
Tehran has known as on them to speed up their efforts or it can additional lower its commitments to the settlement..
Britain stated on July 25 that it had began sending a warship to accompany all British-flagged vessels via the Strait of Hormuz.
Writing by Parisa Hafezi; enhancing by David Evans and Angus MacSwan