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Iran claims to have thwarted US attempt to 'steal' oil in Oman Sea

Commercial oil tanker AbQaiq readies itself to receive oil at Mina-Al-Bkar Oil terminal (MABOT), an off shore Iraqi oil installation [US Navy-Wikipedia]
An oil tanker, 19 July 2019 [US Navy / Wikipedia]

Iran claims 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 (IRGC) naval forces reportedly landed on the deck of the second tanker and moved it back to Iran's territorial waters, the media said.

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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 failed again.

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

It is not clear when the incident took place. The IRGC is expected to release footage of the incident later today.

It is the latest of many close encounters between the naval forces of Iran and the US in the Persian Gulf in recent years. It comes amidst simmering tensions between Tehran and Washington, as both sides continue to dither on resuming nuclear deal talks.

Iranian Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, on Tuesday, said his country was "closely examining the behaviour" of US President Joe Biden while asserting that talks must be aimed at "achieving tangible results".

Incidentally, 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.

Tensions in the Gulf of Hormuz – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

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