Iran's Tasnim news website affiliated with the IRGC published this photo, purportedly showing the seizure of the vessel.

Iran Says Israeli Ownership Of Seized Vessel ‘Evident’

Monday, 04/15/2024

Iran claims that it is “evident” the vessel captured in the Strait of Hormuz by the Revolutionary Guard belongs to Israel.

"The ownership of the ship by Israel is evident," stated Nasser Kanaani, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday.

"Given the violation of maritime laws by the concerned ship, it has been directed into the territorial waters of Iran," added Kanaani during his weekly briefing.

On Saturday, Iran's Revolutionary Guard seized a cargo ship that they said was "affiliated with" Israel near the Strait of Hormuz.

The UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) said the event occurred 50 nautical miles northeast of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates.

Tasnim news agency, which is close to the IRGC, said that the vessel, MSC Aries, is owned by Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer.

IRNA labeled Ofer as “the Zionist capitalist.” In November, vessels part-owned by him were targeted by Yemen's Houthi forces, who are aligned with Iran.

In their statement, Zodiac Maritime confirmed the seizure, adding that the “MSC is responsible for all vessel activities including cargo operations and maintenance. Title to the vessel is held by Gortal Shipping Inc as financier and she has been leased to MSC on a long-term basis. Gortal Shipping Inc is affiliated with Zodiac Maritime.”

The US State Department has condemned the seizure and called for the immediate release of the ship and its crew. In a statement of response, Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Israel Katz called on the European Union and the entire world to “immediately declare the IRGC as a terrorist organization and sanction Iran now.”

Hours after the seizure Iran attacked Israel with 350 drones and missiles launched on Saturday evening, following an airstrike on April 1 that targeted the Iranian consulate in Damascus and killed several IRGC members, including two high-ranking commanders.

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