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Iran’s IRGC Seizes Foreign Fuel Tanker In Persian Gulf

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Iran’s military has seized a foreign-flagged tanker on suspicion of illegal smuggling operations, state media announced Monday.

While the tanker or flag it is flying under hasn’t been identified by Tehran authorities, it was said to be carrying 2.9 million gallons of “smuggled fuel” – worth an estimated $6.6 millionaccording to a statement of an Iranian official.

The country’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) boarded and took control of the vessel in the Persian Gulf. Tehran has long complained about and tried to crackdown on what it has described as persistent smuggling of its oil and fuel to Gulf states.

“The captain and crew of this foreign tanker are also detained as investigations and legal procedures are being completed,” Iran’s judiciary chief of the southern province of Hormozgan, Mojtaba Ghahremani, said in a video address.

“All vessels which have delivered fuel to the violating tanker will also be subject to prosecution,” Ghahremani added.

State media showed a clip of the seized vessel with IRGC operatives approaching it. This practice of intercepting foreign vessels in the vital Strait of Hormuz waterway has put Iran’s navy on a crash course with the US military presence in the region. Of late, the IRGC has sought to seize US sea drones in the region.

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