Iran seized a vessel it accused of smuggling fuel in the Persian Gulf, the third time the Iranian Revolutionary Guards detained a ship in the waterway in recent weeks as the stalemate between the Islamic Republic and the US continues.
The Iranian forces intercepted the ship Wednesday near Farsi Island, which is used by the Revolutionary Guards as a navy base, state media reported on Sunday.
“The IRGC’s naval forces have seized a foreign oil tanker in the Persian Gulf that was smuggling fuel for some Arab countries,” the paramilitary’s forces commander Ramezan Zirahi said, according to state-run media.
The Iraq ship was carrying about 185,000 gallons of fuel, the report said, but it did not provide additional details or identify the nationality of the crew.
The Iraqi oil ministry said it had ties to the seized ship.
The Bahrain-based US Fifth Fleet said it did not have information to confirm the report.
Iran seized a Panamanian-flagged United Arab Emirates tanker, the MT Riah, in the Strait of Hormuz last month that it said was trying to smuggle 264,000 gallons of oil from Iran.
The Revolutionary Guard said it captured the British-flagged Stena Impero last month near the Strait of Hormuz for “violating international regulations.”
Britain said the seizure was in retaliation for its stopping an Iran oil tanker in the waters off Gibraltar that it said was smuggling oil to Syria in early July.
Washington and Tehran have been locked in a standoff since President Trump withdrew the US from the 2015 nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions against Iran designed to force them back to the negotiating table.
Iran has been pressuring the remaining countries in the pact — Britain, France, Germany, the European Union, China and Russia — to abide by the terms of the deal and help ease the US sanctions.
Trump in June called off a military strike after the US said Iran shot down one of its unmanned surveillance drones.
Iran has also surpassed limits set by the accord for the amount of uranium it can enrich and stockpile.
With Post wires