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Iran Seizes Oil Tanker Reportedly Carrying Smuggled Fuel

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has seized a foreign oil tanker that was carrying 11 million liters of fuel in the Persian Gulf.

The judiciary chief of the southern province of Hormozgan, Mojtaba Ghahremani, told Iranian media on October 31 that the vessel contained “smuggled fuel.” The captain and the crew were also arrested, he added.

The nationalities of the vessel and the crew were not announced.

Ghahremani said that the seizure of the vessel "was done after a month of detailed technical and informational work" and that its value is about $6.7 million.

“All vessels that delivered fuel to the violating tanker will also be prosecuted,” the judiciary official said.

Iranian authorities occasionally announce the seizure of smuggled fuel shipments and the arrest of their crews.

In May, IRGC forces seized the Delta Poseidon and another Greek-operated tanker in what appeared to be a tit-for-tat punitive action as shipping seizures mounted amid rising international tensions with Iran and in the Gulf region.

The Iranian actions followed Greece's impounding of an Iranian-flagged, Russian-crewed tanker called the Pegas (formerly the Lana) in April.

The October 31 incident comes as Iran cracks down on protests triggered by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in the custody of the morality police.

The seizure also comes as negotiations between Iran and world powers over a revamped version of the 2015 nuclear deal have hit a dead end.

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By RFE/RL

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