Tanker Seized by Iran in the Hormuz Strait
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org - Home - Stephen Lendman)
On July 18, Iran's IRGC announced the seizure of a foreign tanker it accused of "smuggling" one million liters of fuel — a statement saying the following:
"After being assured that the foreign ship was smuggling fuel and under the order of Iranian judiciary officials, IRGC nav(al) forces seized the vessel in a surprise operation," adding:
"After receiving the smuggled fuel from some Iranian small vessels, the foreign ship, which has the capacity of carrying two million liters of fuel, was to deliver its cargo to other foreign vessels far from the Iranian island."
Kharg Island in the Persian Gulf was referred to, located off Iran's coast northwest of the Hormuz Strait.
The foreign tanker was reportedly seized south of Iran's Larak Island in the chokepoint strait. The ownership and identity of the tanker was not revealed so far.
IRGC naval patrol vessels operate "decisively and keenly around the clock" in Persian Gulf waters off Iran's coastal areas. They "do not hesitate for a moment to preserve the Iranian nation's interests and assets," the statement stressed.
According to Iran's Tasnim News Agency, the vessel was interdicted and "confiscated" on Sunday after obtaining a judicial warrant for the action.
Twelve crew members onboard are in custody, adding: "The IRGC Navy also denied reports by the Western media that Iran has captured another foreign vessel in recent days, saying judicial processes are going on in relation to the smuggling tanker."
The vessel aided on Sunday is the Emirati-based Riah, the incident discussed in a previous article.
Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi explained the following:
"An international oil tanker was in trouble due to technical difficulties in the Persian Gulf," adding:
"After receiving a request for assistance, and according to international regulations, Iranian forces approached it and used a tugboat to pull it towards Iranian waters for the necessary repairs to be carried out."
Press TV reported that "Iranian forces rushed to the scene after receiving the call, and tug boats salvaged the disabled vessel and towed it towards Iranian territorial waters to undergo required repair."
On Thursday, Press TV said the Trump regime and its imperial partners falsely "accus(ed) Iran of retaliatory naval sabotage aimed at disrupting international crude and fuel freight across the region."
"The Islamic Republic roundly rejects the accusations, and reminds how it had even come to the rescue of afflicted vessels in (its) waters."
Separately on Thursday, a letter from Iran's UN mission and other unspecified organizations slammed unacceptable human rights accusations by the US and other Western nations, saying the following:
"Once again, the noble objective of promotion and protection of human rights has served the political interests of a few States that regard human rights as a means in their foreign policy toolbox to exert pressure on the countries they disfavor."
"In this respect, the Islamic Republic of Iran strongly rejects unacceptable practice of some western countries towards China, and application of double standards and abuse of human rights under the pretext of minority situation in this country."
"The fact that the same states routinely turn a blind eye to the gross and systematic violations of human rights, war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by themselves and their allies against innocent populations in Yemen and Palestine, reveals the(ir) true face…"
"Regrettably, the casual application of such obvious double standards by them has relegated the international human rights mechanisms to political instruments that they conveniently abuse against whomever that is considered unfriendly."
Note: The report on Iran's tanker seizure in its waters is a developing story — more on it when further information is known.
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