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Zero Hedge
29 Apr 2023

NextImg:Tanker Wars Are Back: Iran Releases Footage Of Commandos Landing On US-Bound Vessel

Iran's navy has released new footage showing elite commandos seizing a foreign vessel in the Gulf of Oman two days ago.

The Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker Advantage Sweet had been moving Kuwaiti oil to Houston under Chevron, but while en route was boarded by Iranian troops who propelled down to the vessel's deck from a helicopter, the footage shows.

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"Advantage Sweet was seized by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy while transiting international waters in the Gulf of Oman," the US Navy said Thursday.

But it was later revealed that the Iranian assault on the vessel was in retaliation for the United States days prior to this seizing Iranian oil that was bound for China. 

"US authorities ordered a tanker of Iranian crude oil to redirect towards the US in recent days, in a move officials believe was the trigger for Iran’s decision to capture a US-bound tanker on Thursday," the FT reported Friday. 

"Three people briefed on the situation said the US had intervened to summon a ship loaded with Iranian crude, originally destined for China, as Washington looks to step up enforcement of sanctions on Tehran."

More footage aired on Iranian state media:

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Meanwhile, Iran is boasting that it is stepping up hosting joint maritime drills with its more powerful military partners China and Russia...

Iran welcomes the expansion of joint military drills with China, and believes such exercises will help defuse the threat posed to both nations by American-led unilateralism, Defense Minister Mohammad Reza Ashtiani has said on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) defense ministers meeting in New Delhi, India, held on April 28-29.

“The regional and international situation is changing, and as a result, the expansion of relations between Iran and China has become more important than in the past,” Ashtiani said, speaking to his Chinese counterpart, Li Shangfu, on Saturday.

With "friends" like these, Tehran is likely to feel emboldened to go after more international tankers, and especially those carrying crude bound for the US. At the same time, some Congressional hawks have been calling on the Biden administration to get even more aggressive in cracking down in Iran's sanctions-busting activities.