Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has reportedly seized a foreign oil tanker in the Persian Gulf suspected of fuel smuggling.
Iranian state media cited officials as saying that the tanker, that was taken into custody on August 4, was carrying around 700,000 liters of fuel.
Reports suggest that seven crew members were detained from the Iraqi ship that was carrying the cargo to “some Arab countries.” The vessel was seized near Iran’s Farsi Island, north of the Strait of Hormuz, after coordination and the issuing of an order by judiciary officials.
It was reported to have been taken to Bushehr Port in south-western Iran and its fuel handed over to the authorities.
No further details about the vessel and its crew were provided.
The seizure was made amid increased tensions after the U.S. tightened sanctions on Iran’s oil sector, imposed after Washington’s withdrawal from a 2015 nuclear deal.
If confirmed, the Iraqi tanker would be the third foreign vessel to have been seized by Iran in recent weeks.
In mid-July, the Iranian coastguard detained the Panama-flagged MT Riah during naval patrols launched in order to discover organized smuggling operations. later the same month, Iran seized the British-flagged tanker the Stena Impero in the Strait of Hormuz, saying it had collided with a fishing vessel.