Iran says it seized foreign oil tanker over smuggling
TEHRAN (Agencies): The IRGC Navy said in a statement on Thursday that the foreign tanker ship has been captured on Sunday, July 14, by the military vessels patrolling the first naval zone in the Persian Gulf as part of the operations to detect and fight against organized smuggling.
The IRGC Navy’s patrol vessels confiscated the foreign tanker that was carrying one million liters of smuggled fuel in a surprise operation after making sure that the ship was smuggling fuel, it added. According to the statement, the foreign tanker was seized in southern parts of Larak, a small island in the Persian Gulf, after obtaining a judicial warrant. There were 12 foreign crew on board the tanker which has a capacity of 2 million liters of fuel, the statement noted, saying it had received smuggled fuel from the Iranian launches and was going to deliver the fuel to the foreign ships in more distant regions.
The IRGC Navy also den-ied reports by the Western media that Iran has captured another foreign vessel in re-cent days, saying judicial pr-ocesses are going on in relation to the smuggling tanker.
Also, addressing a conference on Thursday, Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi said the IRGC Navy has established such high level of dominance in the Persian Gulf that any foreign vessel entering the area is obligated to communicate with the Iranian forces in Persian language.
He said the American and European warships had to follow the rule after a short period and began to respond to the Iranian naval forces in Persian. “They (foreign forces) come under strong pressure in encounters with us (in the Persian Gulf). The number of American naval accidents has risen greatly, which results from the psychological pressure on them,” the general added.
“Whenever they (Americans) enter the Persian Gulf, they say among themselves that ‘we entered the hell’. Also, whenever they leave the Persian Gulf, they say ‘we got out of the hell’. They are in tough mental and psychological conditions,” Rear Admiral Fadavi noted.
The IRGC Navy is in charge of ensuring security in Iran’s territorial waters in the Persian Gulf.
Thursday’s Iranian statement comes days after the announcement of the disappearance of the oil tanker MT Riah — reportedly based in the UAE — after it approached Iranian waters.
According to Iranian state TV, the oil tanker was carrying 12 people, and was “involved in smuggling roughly one million liters of oil from Iranian smugglers to sell them abroad.” The tanker, according to Iranian TV, was intercepted near the southern Iranian island of Larak, in the Persian Gulf.
An official UAE source denied on Tuesday any connection to the oil tanker, according to a statement released by the UAE news agency.