Iran’s Revolutionary Guard has seized an oil tanker “for smuggling diesel” in the Persian Gulf region, days before nuclear talks are set to resume in Vienna.
An official of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) did not provide the name or country of origin of the tanker but said it was carrying “150,000 liters of smuggled diesel” fuel. This is a small cargo on the international scale of oil tankers and could be a local vessel.
Ahmad Hajian, a naval commander said Saturday that the ship was seized in Iranian waters but did not provide details about the nationality of the 11-member crew and the tanker’s ownership.
Iran has seized large and small vessels in the past claiming they were engaged in illegal activities. Some of these seizures have led to diplomatic wrangling such as the seizure of a South Korean vessel earlier this year or a Vietnamese tanker in October.
Iran itself has been shipping illicit oil to neighboring countries and to Asia during international sanctions (2011-2015) and current US sanctions imposed in 2018.