Alireza Tangsiri, the commander of Navy of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC)

Iran Warns Of Retaliation Against Seizure Of Oil Tankers

Tuesday, 03/19/2024

The commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards naval forces issued a threat against the seizure of Iranian oil and tankers amid US sanctions.

Alireza Tangsiri stated, "If our oil and tankers are seized anywhere in the world, we will respond in kind." He added that the era of “foreign exploitation of Iranian resources with impunity has come to an end.”

Tangsiri's remarks come in response to recent events including the seizure of more than 520,000 barrels of Iran's oil aboard the crude tanker Abyss by the US Department of Justice. The tanker was reportedly anchored in the Yellow Sea between China and South Korea, violating US sanctions.

The US government says that Iran channels revenues from oil sales to finance various groups, including Yemen's Houthi rebels and organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah.

Iran's crude exports and oil output surged to new highs in 2023 despite US sanctions over Tehran's nuclear program, which Iran insists is for peaceful purposes. However, tensions escalated further in January when Iran withheld shipments and demanded higher prices from its top client, China, tightening the supply for the world's biggest crude importer. Iranian oil accounts for approximately 10% of China's crude imports.

Last week, Abram Paley, a special envoy on Iran from the US State Department urged Panama to prohibit sanctioned Iranian ships from flying its flag. Panama's maritime authority refuted the claims of Iranian-owned vessels in its registry, however, following concerns raised by US authorities.

Panama's maritime authority revealed that it had delisted 136 vessels associated with Iran's state oil company over the previous four years.

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