Jul 18, 2019

Iran says it seized foreign oil tanker in Strait of Hormuz

Oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz. Photo: Marwan Naamani/AFP/Getty Images

Iranian state TV announced Thursday that the country's Revolutionary Guard seized a foreign tanker with 12 crew members onboard in the strategic Strait of Hormuz, accusing the ship of smuggling fuel, per the AP.

The big picture: While the Iranian report did not identify which country the ship belonged to, a U.S. official told the AP that it was likely a small, Panamanian-flagged tanker that operated around the United Arab Emirates and had turned off its tracking equipment on Sunday.

This is a developing story. Check back with updates.

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Iran reportedly seizes U.K. tanker in Strait of Hormuz

An oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz. Photo: Getty Images

Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps said it seized a U.K. tanker in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday, the BBC reports.

The latest: Jeremy Hunt, the U.K. foreign secretary, said in a statement on Friday that Iran also seized a second vessel. The second tanker is Liberian-flagged but U.K. owned, according to the BBC. These are the latest in a series of escalatory events in the narrow waterway through which 20% of the world's oil supply flows.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Jul 19, 2019

Iran nuclear deal crisis talks held amid U.S.-Tehran tension

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi (2nd L) after talks in Vienna, Austria. Photo: Askin Kiyagan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Diplomats from Iran, Germany, France, Britain, China, Russia and the European Union recommitted Sunday to saving Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal after "constructive" talks in Vienna, a senior Iranian official said, according to AP.

Why it matters: The talks come at a time of heightened tension between the West and Iran, after the U.S. withdrew from the deal and hit Tehran with sanctions. Hours before the talks, the U.S. and Israel said they tested a missile defense system in Alaska. The goal is to intercept long-range missiles from Iran, Barak Ravid writes for Axios.

What they're saying: Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araghchi told reporters after that while not every issue was resolved, those present were "determined to save this deal," per AP.

The big picture: The United Nations' nuclear watchdog confirmed this month that Iran has followed through on its threat to enrich uranium beyond the purity limit set under the 2015 nuclear deal.

What's next: There was a general agreement at Sunday's talks to organize a higher-level meeting of foreign ministers soon, though no date had been set, according to AP.

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Keep ReadingArrowJul 29, 2019

U.S. warns Greek government as Iran tanker sails toward Greece

The Adrian Darya oil tanker, formerly known as Grace 1, off the coast of Gibraltar on Sunday. Photo: Johnny Bugeja/AFP/Getty Images

A State Department official said Monday the U.S. conveyed its "strong position" to the Greek government and all ports in the Mediterranean about a Greece-bound Iranian supertanker it sought to seize, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: The Adrian Darya 1 tanker has been at the center of a standoff between Iran and the West since it was detained at Gibraltar on suspicion of carrying oil to Syria. The official said the tanker is assisting the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp and any efforts to help it may be considered providing material support to the U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization, which has potential criminal consequences, per Reuters.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Aug 19, 2019