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US Seize Iranian Oil On A Tanker, Iran Responds With Same Action

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According to three sources, the US recently seized Iranian oil on a tanker at sea as part of a sanctions enforcement operation. Days later, Iran responded by seizing another oil-filled tanker, according to a maritime security company.

Following years of sanctions pressure by the US over Iran’s nuclear programme, the cargo seizure is the latest escalation between Washington and Tehran as oil markets remain unsteady. The restrictions are not recognised by Iran, and its oil exports have been increasing.

While the US believes Iran is trying to develop a nuclear weapon, Tehran insists that its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes.

The US confiscation, according to maritime security firm Ambrey, occurred at least five days prior to Iran’s Thursday action. “Ambrey has assessed the seizure by the Iranian Navy to be in response to the US action. Both tankers were Suezmax-sized. Iran has previously responded tit-for-tat following seizures of Iranian oil cargo,” it said in an advisory to clients.

According to the sources, Washington assumed control of the oil cargo on board the Marshall Islands ship Suez Rajan after obtaining a previous court order. On April 22, the tanker’s last known location was close to southern Africa, according to ship tracking information.

The latest seizure or attack by Tehran on commercial vessels in strategic Gulf seas, according to the US Navy, occurred on Thursday when a flagged tanker of the Marshall Islands was taken over in the Gulf of Oman.

According to a UN official on Friday, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had knowledge of the seizure in the Gulf of Oman and reiterated his support for international maritime law.

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