Iran State TV: Iranian Forces Seize Foreign Oil Tanker, Crew

In this photo released by the official website of the office of the Iranian Presidency, President Hassan Rouhani speaks in a meeting during his provincial tour to the North Khorasan, Iran, Sunday, July 14, 2019.(Iranian Presidency Office via AP)

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard forces have seized a foreign oil tanker accused of smuggling oil with a crew of 12, Iran’s state TV reported Thursday, just days after an oil tanker based in the United Arab Emirates disappeared off trackers in Iranian territorial waters.

The Panamanian-flagged oil tanker MT Riah stopped transmitting its location overnight on Sunday near Qeshm Island, which has a Revolutionary Guard base on it, according to data listed on tracking site Maritime Traffic.

Iran’s state television did not identify the seized vessel, but said it was intercepted on Sunday. It said the oil tanker had 12 foreign crew members on board and was involved in smuggling some 1 million liters of fuel from Iranian smugglers to foreign customers.

The report said the oil tanker was intercepted in south of Iran’s Larak Island in the Strait of Hormuz.

A U.S. defense official had told The Associated Press earlier this week that America “has suspicions” that Iran seized the oil tanker when it turned off its tracker in the Strait of Hormuz. An Emirati official had told the AP the small oil tanker made no distress call before switching off its tracker.

The 58-meter (190-foot) Riah typically made trips from Dubai and Sharjah on the UAE’s west coast before going through the strait and heading to Fujairah on the UAE’s east coast.

This undated Ministry of Defence handout shows the HMS Duncan, a Type 45 Destroyer, which will relieve HMS Montrose in the region as Iran threatens to disrupt shipping. Iran on Friday, July 12, 2019 demanded the British navy release an Iranian oil tanker seized last week off Gibraltar, accusing London of playing a “dangerous game” and threatening retribution.(Ben Sutton/Ministry of Defence via AP)

The acknowledgement that a vessel has been seized by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard appears to contradict statements by Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman on Wednesday saying Iran had aided a foreign oil tanker with a malfunction.

The move by the Guard comes amid heightened tensions between Iran and the U.S. after President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers last year and imposed sanctions, including on Iranian oil exports.

Iran has recently increased uranium production and enrichment over the limits of its 2015 nuclear deal, trying to put more pressure on Europe to offer it better terms and allow it to sell its crude oil abroad.

The U.S. has sent thousands of additional troops, nuclear-capable B-52 bombers and advanced fighter jets into the Mideast amid the heightened tensions.

Mysterious attacks on oil tankers and Iran shooting down a U.S. military surveillance drone has added to the fears of an armed conflict breaking out.

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By NASSER KARIMI and AYA BATRAWY Associated Press

Batrawy reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

1 Comment

  1. Game time …for U.S, Israel , and Uk ..war criminals who think they can break all international laws in pirating and Iranian oil tanker heading allegedly to Syria ..which,,,,get this , for you brain dead readers of only fake news outlets like TNH and CNN ..the C.I.A News Network..because the people of Syria ..are subject to economic sanctions by the EU., which includes blockade of oil and gas , needed by the people of Syria for basic energy needs to feed their people!

    Let me repeat this…the U.S , UK and EU…are allegedly violating all international laws and committing war crimes killing of Syrian citizens in Syria,.like Yemen, Iraq, libya, somalia. to fight terrorist in Syria like ISIS , and Al queda, while embargoing the Syrian government with economic warfare which prevents the people of Syria to end their suffering at the hands of the terrorist sponsored by the EU and U.S!

    Let me try that again, the fake news TNH and CNN (C.I.A News Network)..do not tell you that the “War ON TERRORISM”…IS A COMPLETE LIE, AND ONLY USED TO PROVIDE A PRETEXT TO COMMIT AND BREAK INTERNATIONAL LAWS..TO COMMIT CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY TO OVERTHROW ANY GOVERNMENT NOT COMPLIANT TO THE RULE OF THE UNITED STATES, UK, ISRAEL AND SAUDI ARABIA!

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