Iran seizes vessel in Gulf for allegedly smuggling diesel fuel

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Iranian Revolutionary Guards drive speedboats in front of an oil tanker at the port of Bandar Abbas in this July 2, 2012 file photo. — AFP

DUBAI — Iran's Revolutionary Guards have seized a vessel in the Gulf for allegedly smuggling 250,000 liters of diesel fuel to the United Arab Emirates, Iran's semi-official Students News agency ISNA reported on Monday.

"It was detained near Iran's Greater Tunb island in the Persian (Arabian) Gulf...the crew have been handed over to legal authorities in the southern Hormozgan province," ISNA said, without elaborating on the nationalities of the crewmen.

The reported seizure coincided with raised international tensions following a weekend attack on a major oil installation in Saudi Arabia.

Responsibility for the strike was claimed by Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi movement, while the United States has blamed Iran itself for the strike. Iran denies the accusation.

In July, Iran seized a British oil tanker near the Strait of Hormuz for alleged marine violations, two weeks after British forces detained an Iranian tanker near Gibraltar accused of taking oil to Syria in violation of European Union sanctions.

Iran's Adrian Darya 1, formerly Grace 1, was released last month. Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Monday that the British-flagged Steno Impero oil tanker will be released soon.

The latest reported ship seizure by Iran follows a series of incidents involving shipping in and near the Gulf after US sanctions on Iranian oil exports took full effect in May. — Reuters


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