[Ed. – Yeah, this isn’t like the previous seizures. This was up by Farsi Island (in the northern Persian Gulf, near where the U.S. patrol boats were seized in January 2016), and the Iranians have been coy about whose tanker it is, saying only that it’s “foreign” and has been smuggling fuel (note: fuel, not crude) to the “Persian Gulf Arab states.” The amount of fuel is not a large one. In all probability this is the Iranians policing one of their own, engaged in unauthorized smuggling as opposed to the officially approved smuggling backed by the national government. We will continue to see the same patterns from 20 years ago reemerge as factions within Iran do what they always do when there’s a smuggling party going on.]
Iranian forces seized a ship in the Persian Gulf suspected of carrying smuggled fuel, state media reported Sunday, marking the Revolutionary Guard’s third seizure of a vessel in recent weeks and the latest show of strength by the paramilitary force amid a spike in regional tensions.
State TV and the semi-official Fars news agency reported that seven crew members were detained when the ship was seized late Wednesday carrying 700,000 liters (185,000 gallons) of “smuggled fuel” from Iran. The local reports did not provide further details on the vessel or the nationality of the crew. …
Guard commander Gen. Ramazan Zirahi was quoted by Iran’s state TV saying the ship was seized in Iranian territorial waters and had been transporting diesel fuel. State TV and other local media also ran footage of the ship, but did not show any flag or identifying marker for the vessel.