Iran Seizes US-Bound Oil Tanker

Iran Seizes US-Bound Oil Tanker

( – Iranian troops have boarded and taken over an oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman. Tehran says the tanker, which was heading for the US with a cargo of crude oil, collided with an Iranian vessel. However, Iran has a history of interfering with shipping in the region.

On April 28, an Iranian navy Sea King helicopter swooped in on China-registered MV Advantage Sweet, an 81,000-ton crude tanker sailing from Kuwait to Houston, Texas. Commandos fast-roped from the helicopter and took control of the ship as it crossed the Gulf of Oman; the crew sent a distress call to say they were being boarded. According to the ship’s Turkish managers, Advantage Tankers, it’s now being “escorted” to port “on the basis of an international dispute.”

While Iran is claiming the Advantage Sweet collided with an Iranian ship the night before the boarding, injuring or sending overboard some of its crew, not everyone is buying this. Iran has a history of harassing or seizing tankers when it has a grievance, which it often does. After former president Donald Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal in 2018, Iranian boats attacked four tankers in the Gulf of Oman. So what could be provoking this latest attack?

In late April, a tanker was seized near South Africa with plans to sell its stolen cargo of Iranian crude. There are restrictions on Iranian oil sales in retaliation for the country’s illegal nuclear weapons program, but the Tehran regime regularly violates them. Whenever they’re enforced, Iran retaliates — and the seizure of Advantage Sweet fits that pattern.

On May 3, a Panamanian tanker was pirated, this time by Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps speedboats in the Strait of Hormuz. It’s now being taken to the port of Bandar Abbas. A statement from the US Fifth Fleet slammed Iran for violating international law — but it doesn’t look like the ayatollahs are listening.

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