Iran Seizes Another Foreign Oil Tanker

Iraqi tanker is accused of smuggling fuel to Gulf Arab states

Iranian state media announced on Sunday that the Revolutionary Guards Corps captured another oil tanker on Wednesday. Officials accused the tanker of smuggling fuel to Gulf Arab states, and claimed it was an Iraqi ship.

This entire incident includes a lot of strange details, including that a tanker could be captured on Wednesday in the Persian Gulf and go unreported until Sunday, and then only because Iran announced it.

According to state media reports, the incident took place near tiny Farsi Island, in the Persian Gulf. The island has a Revolutionary Guards base, and that’s about it. They claim the ship in question had been picking up small amounts of fuel from various other ships in the Gulf, so as to try to smuggle the oil.

The point of all this smuggling is unclear. Iran says the tanker had 700,000 liters of fuel on it, and that seven foreign nations were detained in the operation. It’s not clear who owns the ship, despite Iranian officials calling it Iraqi. Since Iran is on good terms with Iraq, it is strange that an Iraqi ship would be seized at all. Iraq’s oil ministry denied connections to the ship in question.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.