US Seized Two Iranian Tankers Amid Talks on Lifting Sanctions

Tanker accused of being repainted to fool US

With the ongoing Vienna talks aiming to reach a nuclear deal and ease US sanctions on Iran, the US is quietly continuing to crack down based on the sanctions, as officials interpret them.

The US has been after oil on the M/T Stark I and the Panamanian-flagged Arina, claiming it illegally came from Iran. The Arina’s document says it came from Oman, but the US rejects this.

The US accuses the Stark I, a sanctioned ship, of having secretly transferred oil to the Arina to hide its origin. They also accuse the Stark I of having gotten its deck painted to try to fool the US into thinking it was a different ship.

The transfer dates back to 2020, and the US says the oil was transferred to a third ship, the M/T Nostos. The US ordered that ship to take the oil to Houston to be unloaded, and it  appears the intention is for the US to seize it outright.

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.