On Monday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said Tehran summoned a Swiss diplomat over the discharging of a tanker carrying Iranian oil that was seized by the United States.
Kanaani said Iran summoned the chargé d’affaires at the Swiss embassy to express “strong objection” to the move to Switzerland, which acts as a mediator between the US and Iran.
“The subject of the seizure of an Iranian oil consignment by the US … is a completely unproductive action,” Kanaani said. He noted how the US was expressing interest in a renewed nuclear deal while also increasing sanctions and seizing Iranian oil shipments.
The tanker Suez Rajan was estimated to be carrying 800,000 barrels of Iranian oil and was forced by the US to sail to Texas instead of China under the pretext of sanctions enforcement. The Suez Rajan transferred the cargo to another tanker, MR Euphrates, which is currently moored in Houston.
The Suez Rajan was stuck off the coast of Galveston for months as American companies were hesitant to unload the cargo due to fears of Iranian reprisals. The US seizure of the Suez Rajan in April provoked the Iranian seizure of two tankers in the Persian Gulf.
The US responded to the Iranian seizures by increasing its military presence in the region, including sending over 3,000 US Marines and Navy sailors as part of an Amphibious Readiness Group/Marine Expeditionary Unit. The US is also considering putting armed troops on commercial vessels.