Iran’s state TV claims marine elements of the Revolutionary Guard Corps seized a “foreign vessel” with 12 crew Thursday morning on accusations of smuggling oil.
The move comes as tensions mount between the United States and Iran over the unravelling of the Obama-negotiated JPOA nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.
The report alleges the tanker was moving fuel from Iranian smugglers to foreign customers and was intercepted south of Iran’s Larak Island in the strategic Strait of Hormuz.
Vision was later released of the action:
— Press TV (@PressTV) July 18, 2019
The TV report didn’t identify the tanker or say which country the crew were from but it comes after an Iranian supertanker, carrying 2.1 million barrels of light crude oil, was seized with the help of British Royal Marines earlier this month off Gibraltar, a British overseas territory near the southern coast of Spain.
An oil tanker based in the United Arab Emirates traveling through the Strait of Hormuz drifted off into Iranian waters and stopped transmitting its location over two days ago.
U.S. officials have expressed suspicion that the Panamanian-flagged oil tanker Riah had been seized in Iranian territorial waters.
The Riah was travelling from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), though a UAE official said it was neither UAE-owned nor operated and had no Emirati personnel on board.
Earlier this week HMS Duncan was put on high alert after an Iranian “bomb boat” was spotted in its path.
The remote-controlled Blowfish loaded with explosives was located by Saudi forces in the Red Sea, close to where the heavily-armed warship was sailing.
In response, Britain is sending a third warship to the Persian Gulf as tensions heat up.
AP contributed to this story
More to come