IRGC commander: Iran seizes another foreign vessel in Gulf

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Iran seized a “foreign” vessel in the Arabian Gulf, the semi-official Fars news agency reported on Sunday.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) seized a “foreign vessel,” which was receiving fuel from other ships and transferring it to the Arab states of the Arabian Gulf, near Farsi Island in the Arabian Gulf, Fars cited the commander of IRGC Navy’s second region, Ramzan Zirahi, as saying.

Zirahi has been sanctioned by the US Treasury for his part “in the Iranian regime’s provocative attacks orchestrated in internationally recognized waters and airspace, as well as Iran’s malign activities in Syria.”

The vessel was carrying 700,000 litres of fuel and had seven crew members on board.

The seven crew members are all under arrest, according to Fars.

In 2016, Zirahi’s unit was involved in detaining 10 US sailors near Farsi Island. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei awarded the Victory Medal to some of the IRGC commanders involved in that operation.

Iraq’s oil ministry said on Sunday it has no connection with an oil tanker seized by Iran in the Gulf for smuggling fuel, Iraqi News Agency reported.

“The ministry does not export diesel to the international market,” the ministry said in a statement.

Iran had said earlier that the tanker sized by its elite forces in the Gulf for allegedly smuggling fuel was an Iraqi ship, the official IRNA news agency reported.

(With Reuters)