US seized Iranian tanker days before Tehran captured US ship
The United States claims that it was enforcing its unilateral sanctions against Tehran.
The United States seized an Iranian oil tanker just days before Tehran detained a tanker carrying American cargo in the Gulf of Oman, Reuters reported on Saturday.
The Islamic Republic announced on Thursday that its naval forces seized a Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman, which was headed for the US after it violated international and navigation laws.
Iranian state news agency said on Friday that the oil tanker ignored radio communication for eight hours before colluding with an Iranian boat, which caused injuries among its crewmembers, while three went missing in the sea.
"Before using force, we tried to call the vessel... to stop but they did not cooperate," Iranian deputy navy commander Rear Admiral Mostafa Tajodini told the media outlet.
Washington has been struggling in the past few months to refill its Strategic Petroleum Reserves SPR after Biden's administration released historic amounts of oil in efforts to cut Moscow's and Iran's energy revenues and fight rising petrol prices driven by Western anti-Russia sanctions.
The US planned on refilling its reserves when oil prices were between $67-$72 a barrel, which was reached back in March, but as soon as the mark hit the desired price, OPEC+ announced a surprise further production cut, sending prices $5 higher per barrel, signaling a close end of an era where the US dictates global oil supply volume through its hegemony.
According to Ambrey, a maritime security firm, the US snatched the Iranian oil ship at least five days before Iran's naval forces took control of the sea tanker.
"Ambrey has assessed the seizure by the Iranian Navy to be in response to the U.S. action," it told its clients.
"Both tankers were Suezmax-sized. Iran has previously responded tit-for-tat following seizures of Iranian oil cargo."
Last year, the US ordered the seizing of an oil tanker flying an Iranian flag near Greece, while the cargo was stolen and sent to the US through another ship.
Tehran later detained two Greek tankers for violating maritime international laws but later released them after several months of investigations.