Iran seizes another foreign oil tanker, third in less than month

Tehran, August 4 

Iran has seized a foreign tanker in the Gulf, state media said on Sunday, in what would be the third such seizure in a month amid heightened tensions with its foe the United States.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps “seized this ship around Farsi Island which was carrying around 700,000 litres of smuggled fuel”, said a Guards statement quoted by official news agency IRNA.

Seven foreign crew were arrested in the operation carried out on Wednesday night, said Fars news agency.

Tensions between arch-enemies Iran and the US have soared this year after Washington stepped up its campaign of “maximum pressure” against Tehran.

Ships have been attacked, drones downed and oil tankers seized since May, a year after the US withdrew from a landmark nuclear deal between Iran and world powers and began reimposing biting sanctions against Iran.

The seizure of the latest tanker would be the third by Iran in less than a month in Gulf waters-a conduit for much of the world’s crude oil.

On July 18, the Guards said they had detained the Panama-flagged for MT Riah for alleged fuel smuggling.

And a day later, they announced they had impounded the British-flagged Stena Impero in the Strait of Hormuz for breaking “international maritime rules”. The identity of the latest vessel seized and the nationality of its crew had not yet been revealed. — AFP