Iran Seizes Oil Smuggling Tanker, IRGC Fighter Jet Crashes: A Connection?

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Iran Seizes Oil Smuggling Tanker, IRGC Fighter Jet Crashes: A Connection?

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.orgHome – Stephen Lendman)

On July 31, Iran’s IRGC detained a foreign tanker and seven crew members, carrying 700,000 liters of smuggled fuel in Persian Gulf waters near the Islamic Republic’s Farsi Island.

The action was authorized by the nation’s judiciary, reported by the IRGC on Sunday.

According to IRGC official Ramezan Zirahi, the vessel “receiv(ed) fuel from other ships and was transferring it to (unnamed) Arab countries of the Persian Gulf.”

Fars News reported that the tanker with crew aboard was taken to Iran’s Bushehr Port, “its cargo (turned over) to the National Oil Distribution Company (NODC) of Bushehr province.”

Iranian naval vessels patrol Persian Gulf waters to defend the nation’s coastline, protect maritime traffic and act against illegal smuggling.

In mid-July, Iran’s IRGC announced the seizure of a foreign tanker it accused of “smuggling” one million liters of fuel, a statement saying the following:

“After being assured that the foreign ship was smuggling fuel and under the order of Iranian judiciary officials, IRGC nav(al) forces seized the vessel in a surprise operation,” adding:

“After receiving the smuggled fuel from some Iranian small vessels, the foreign ship, which has the capacity of carrying two million liters of fuel, was to deliver its cargo to other foreign vessels far from the Iranian island.”

On July 19, IRGC naval vessels seized the UK-flagged Stena Impero tanker for provocatively breaching the right of “innocent passage” in Iranian Hormuz Strait territorial waters — a UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) violation.

The IRGC reported that the vessel improperly veered off course, rammed an Iranian fishing boat, injuring its occupants, and failed to assist them as maritime law requires.

As international law permits, Iran is committed to defend its land, sea, and aerial sovereignty against hostile actions by foreign nations — notably the US, Israel, the Saudis, and UK.

Separately, a Iranian fighter jet crashed in Bushehr province, two crew members on board reportedly safe, no details released on the incident so far.

Was the plane lost because of a technical problem as Mehr News reported, or was something more sinister involved — perhaps connected to hostile Trump regime actions against the Iran, another shoe dropping, compounding its sanctions war.

On Saturday, Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif said a further pullback from the country’s voluntary JCPOA commitments is coming if Britain, France, Germany, and the EU continue to breach their mandated nuclear deal obligations.

Zarif didn’t explain what further steps Iran will take next. What’s coming is full restoration of Tehran’s legitimate pre-JCPOA nuclear rights if Europe continues to ignore its obligations under the deal.

Based on its unacceptable actions since May 2018 and no indication of a policy change, the JCPOA is effectively dead.

Years of work preceding it were for naught because of US hostility toward Iran, Europe going along with its policy.

Most often, its nations fail to assert their sovereign independence, operating like US colonies instead.

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Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.