Iran Claims US Tried to ‘Steal’ Oil in Gulf of Oman

Tehran’s state media report that Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps forces carried out a “heliborne operation” and took control of the tanker.

From the international space station, view of Gulf of Oman, to the right of the Strait of Hormuz at the choke point. (NASA)

By Jake Johnson
Common Dreams

Iranian forces reportedly foiled an attempt by the United States Navy to capture a tanker in the Gulf of Oman and seize its oil, an alleged ploy that Iran’s Press TV characterized as an “abortive act of piracy.”

Without specifying when the events took place, Iran’s IRNA news agency reported Wednesday that the U.S. confiscated “an Iranian oil tanker in the Sea of Oman, transferred its oil to another tanker, and [moved] the tanker to an unknown place.”

In response, according to IRNA, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) forces carried out a “heliborne operation” and “took control of the tanker.”

“Then the American forces pursued the tanker by helicopters and warships but failed to capture it,” the outlet reported. “The tanker is now in Iranian waters.”

On Wednesday morning, Iranian media outlets released video footage purporting to show glimpses of the scene, which the U.S. claims did not take place as described.

[The U.S. is on questionable legal grounds in enforcing its unilateral sanctions — not international sanctions adopted by the U.N. Security Council, which have the force of international law — by boarding vessels and seizing contraband.]

The latest reported confrontation is one of several tense incidents that have occurred in or near the Persian Gulf in recent years, repeatedly pushing the two nations to the brink of war during the Trump administration.

Al Jazeera‘s Ali Hashem noted Wednesday that there appears to be “a pattern” of confrontations in the region that began after former President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Iran nuclear accord in 2018.

There were “tankers that were set on fire, there were bombs on tankers, there were attempts to seize tankers — so this is not new, it’s just escalating,” Hashem said.

(Topographic map: Carport, texts : Flappiefh, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

The U.S., Iran, and European nations are currently in negotiations to resume long-stalled nuclear talks, but the Biden administration is refusing to lift punitive sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy and hindered the nation’s ability to combat the coronavirus pandemic. Iran has demanded a guarantee of sanctions relief as a condition for restarting nuclear negotiations.

“Recent suggestions that the U.S. should move on from diplomacy to a ‘Plan B,’ while hinting at the possibility of military strikes, are deeply concerning,” a coalition of nearly 50 groups wrote in a letter to Biden on Tuesday. “Doubling down on the failed path of mutual pressure and recrimination will harm U.S. and regional security, weaken global nonproliferation efforts, undercut vital administration priorities like defeating Covid-19 across the globe, and risk a disastrous war.”

This article is from  Common Dreams.



5 comments for “Iran Claims US Tried to ‘Steal’ Oil in Gulf of Oman

  1. Annie McStravick
    November 4, 2021 at 13:55

    There is a comment in parentheses — presumably added by CN — that “The U.S. is on questionable legal grounds in enforcing its unilateral sanctions”. “Questionable” is a strangely mild adjective to apply to such American action that has no legitimacy under international law, is it not?

  2. Piotr Berman
    November 4, 2021 at 07:03

    On a quick check, there are inconsistencies in the versions of Iran and USA.

    Iranians videoed themselves “recapturing the ship” without any glimpse of an armed person opposing them, or captured. USN claimed that the monitored a Vietnamese vessel captured a week ago by Iranians — so far, no company is on the record of complaining about the capture of its property. In a discussion on another blog, there is a conjecture that the “capture by Americans” was somewhat virtual, the crew promising obedience to instructions from USN. There was at least one case of a crew bringing Iranian cargo of gasoline destined for Venezuela to an American port where it was confiscated — a “subtle form of piracy”, and rumors (hard to find the source on the web) of USA promising bounties for delivering cargoes under sanctions.

    Back in January/February, I was hoping that on certain issues like Iran and Assange, Biden Administration will turn the clock to Obama presidency, dropping Assange prosecution and going back to the agreement with Iran using an expeditious series of moves aimed ONLY at the restoration of the agreement. That would be a strong signal to voters interested in those issues, and disenchanting them could cost Democrats dearly.

    The road not taken.

    One explanation is the type of Democrat that populates DNC is convinced that political suicide is a better course the nation, a patriotic sacrifice if you will. I read a praise of Starmer purging Corbyn from Labour Party that was phrased in exactly those terms: it will surely sink the chances of Labour to form the government after looming failure of Tories under Johnson, bulk of Labour activists will get disenchanted, but it is good for England. I am also convinced that Ehud Barak preferred to destroy Israeli Labor Party rather than reach agreement with Arafat.

    The other explanation is stupidity, not in IQ sense but the myopia of a group in which membership requires adherence to shibboleth.

  3. Andrew Thomas
    November 3, 2021 at 17:16

    Diplomacy? The 50 groups give the US credit for ‘diplomacy’? To get on Biden/Blinken’s good side, I suppose? It truly is good to be King.

  4. Jeff Harrison
    November 3, 2021 at 16:10

    SOP for the imperium.

  5. Jahaziel Bonilla
    November 3, 2021 at 14:47

    Nothing new under the sun as “western nations” have been stealing the natural resources of weaker nations for centuries now through piracy, invasions and in modern times they use “international rule of law” which was created by them for the benefit of the western capitalist class….that is the reason they want to “contain” China to be just an exporter of commodities and not a competitor to their hegemonic “trade rules”.

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