World, Middle East

Iran says thwarted US attempt to 'steal' oil in Sea of Oman

Pentagon officials say Iran's claims of US seizing oil tanker 'false'

Syed Zafar Mehdi, Ahmet Dursun and Muhammet Kursun   | 03.11.2021
Iran says thwarted US attempt to 'steal' oil in Sea of Oman FILE PHOTO

TEHRAN, Iran / ANKARA, Turkey

Iran on Wednesday claimed to have thwarted what it terms a US attempt to "steal" an oil tanker in the strategic Sea of Oman amid heightening tensions between the two countries.

A US military vessel reportedly confiscated an Iranian oil tanker and diverted the oil to another tanker headed to an undisclosed location, state media said.

Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps naval forces reportedly landed on the deck of the second tanker and moved it back to Iran's territorial waters, the media said.

The US forces, the report said, tried to chase the tanker with warships and helicopters but failed to gain control over it.

They reportedly tried a second time to block the tanker from entering Iranian waters, but again failed.

The tanker is currently docked in Iranian territorial waters, Iran's state media said.

Later on Wednesday, Iran's state television released footage of the incident, which showed the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps conducting an operation against an oil tanker.

The footage recorded a scene when the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps surrounded a red oil tanker with small speedboats and later landed on the tanker.

Some warships claimed to be belonging to the US were also seen in the video.

The incident reportedly took place on Oct. 25.

The US on Wednesday rejected Iranian claims that it thwarted a US attempt to "steal" an oil tanker in the Sea of Oman.

A Pentagon official told Anadolu Agency the claims were "false" and US forces were "just monitoring” the vessel in the strategic waters.

"It occurred last week. Iran illegally boarded and seized the internationally-flagged vessel in international waters and took it back into Iranian waters," said the official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

It is the latest of many close encounters between the naval forces of Iran and the US in the Persian Gulf in recent years.

The announcement of the incident comes two days after the Iranian naval forces claimed to have foiled a pirate attack on one of their oil tankers en route to the Gulf of Eden.

Pirates attempted to confiscate the tanker but were forced to escape after the Iranian Navy's timely intervention, reports said.

*Zehra Nur Duz in Ankara contributed to this story

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