DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard seized a Panamanian-flagged oil tanker within the strategic Strait of Hormuz on Wednesday, the second-such seize by Tehran in beneath every week amid heightened tensions over its nuclear program.
The taking of the oil tanker Niovi renewed considerations about Iran threatening maritime site visitors within the strait, the slender mouth of the Persian Gulf by means of which a fifth of all crude passes. It additionally comes amid the disappearance of a crude oil tanker in southeast Asia believed to be carrying Iranian crude oil amid experiences it could have been seized by the U.S.
The U.S. Navy revealed photos of a dozen Guard vessels swarming the tanker. These ships “pressured the oil tanker to reverse course and head towards Iranian territorial waters off the coast of Bandar Abbas, Iran,” the Navy stated.
“Iran’s actions are opposite to worldwide regulation and disruptive to regional safety and stability,” the fifth Fleet stated in a press release. “Iran’s continued harassment of vessels and interference with navigational rights in regional waters are unwarranted, irresponsible and a gift menace to maritime safety and the worldwide financial system.”
Iran’s semiofficial Tasnim information company, believed to be near the Guard, reported the paramilitary pressure had seized a tanker it described as a “violator,” with out elaborating.
Transport registries present the Niovi as managed by Sensible Tankers of Piraeus, Greece. A girl who answered the telephone on the agency declined to right away touch upon the seizure.
Final week, Iran seized an oil tanker carrying crude for Chevron Corp. of San Ramon, California. amid wider tensions between Tehran and the U.S. over its nuclear program. The Benefit Candy had 23 Indians and one Russian on board.
Iran has accused the Benefit Candy of colliding with one other vessel, whereas providing no proof to help its declare. Iran has supplied a wide range of unsupported claims prior to now when seizing foreign-flagged ships amid tensions with the West.
The taking of the 2 tankers in beneath every week comes amid the disappearance of the Marshall Island-flagged Suez Rajan, which had been within the South China Sea off Singapore for over a 12 months after a report alleged it to smuggling sanctioned Iranian crude oil. Monitoring information for the Suez Rajan final confirmed it off East Africa, shifting in a path that would take it to the Americas.
The Monetary Occasions, in addition to the maritime intelligence agency Ambrey, each have reported the Suez Rajan was seized on order of American authorities. The ship’s supervisor has not responded to queries from The Related Press concerning the standing of the ship. U.S. officers additionally haven’t commented.
The seizure by Iran of the 2 ships within the final week was the newest in a string of ship seizures and explosions to roil the area.
The incidents started after then-President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew america from Iran’s nuclear cope with world powers, which noticed Tehran drastically restrict its enrichment of uranium in change for the lifting of financial sanctions.
Additionally, the U.S. Navy has blamed Iran for a sequence of limpet mine assaults on vessels that broken tankers in 2019, in addition to for a deadly drone assault on an Israeli-linked oil tanker that killed two European crew members in 2021.
Tehran denies finishing up the assaults, however a wider shadow conflict between Iran and the West has performed out within the area’s unstable waters. Iranian tanker seizures have been part of it since 2019. The final main seizure earlier than current days got here when Iran took two Greek tankers in Might 2022 and held them till November.
Related Press author Nasser Karimi in Tehran, Iran, contributed to this report.
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