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Putin Looks To De-escalate Tensions In Persian Gulf

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is ready to hold dialogue with all parties interested in de-escalating the latest flare-up in tension in the Persian Gulf, Sputnik reported on Friday, quoting a statement from the Kremlin.

On Thursday, reports emerged that Iran had reportedly seized a Liberian-flagged oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz and then let it go.

Then the U.S. Central Command said that on Thursday “in international waters, Iranian forces, including two ships and an Iranian "Sea King" helicopter, overtook and boarded a ship called the 'Wila.'”

“Iran's use of its military forces to conduct an armed boarding of a commercial vessel in international waters constitutes a blatant violation of international law that undermines freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce,” the International Maritime Security Construct (IMSC) mission said.  

“We call on Iran to articulate to the international community the legal basis for its actions. This type of reckless, aggressive behavior by Iran destabilizes the region and threatens the rules based international order,” IMSC added.

Russia’s Putin is now offering dialogue to all parties in search of de-escalation of the tension.

“We are calling on our partners to carefully weigh our proposal. Otherwise, further escalation of tensions and increased risk of conflict are inevitable. Such a development must be avoided,” Putin said, as quoted by Sputnik.

The Strait of Hormuz has been the scene of several incidents in recent months, and Iran has repeatedly threatened in recent years to close the Strait of Hormuz if it can’t export its oil.

The Strait of Hormuz is the most critical oil chokepoint in the world with daily oil flows averaging 21 million bpd, or the equivalent of 21 percent of global petroleum liquids consumption. According to EIA estimates, 76 percent of the crude oil and condensate that moved through the Strait of Hormuz last year went to Asian markets, with China, India, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore the top destinations.   

On Friday, reports also emerged that the United States had seized fuel cargo from several Iranian vessels that were bound for Venezuela—a development that Iran denied.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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