Iranian State TV Shows Commandos Seizing a Tanker Headed For The United States

Masked Iranian navy commandos carried out a helicopter-borne operation in the Gulf of Oman to seize a US-bound oil tanker, according to footage shown on Iran’s state media on Friday.

The abduction of the Turkish-managed, Chinese-owned Advantage Sweet on Thursday is Iran’s second seizure amid tensions with the US over its nuclear program.

While Tehran claims the tanker was seized after colliding with another Iranian vessel, no evidence has been provided to support the claim. The Islamic Republic has used other ships as bargaining chips in negotiations with the West.

The footage showed the commandos lowering by ropes from a hovering helicopter onto the deck of the Advantage Sweet. One commando was photographed raising his fist in the air after seemingly capturing the vessel.

Iranian State TV Shows Commandos Seizing a Tanker

According to the US Navy’s 5th Fleet, the Iranian seizure was at least the fifth commercial vessel seized by Tehran in the last two years.

“Iran’s continued harassment of vessels and interference with navigational rights in regional waters are a threat to maritime security and the global economy,” it added.

The vessel’s manager, a Turkish firm called Advantage Tankers, issued a statement acknowledging the Advantage Sweet was “being escorted by the Iranian navy to a port on the basis of an international dispute.” All the ship’s 24 crew members are Indian.

“The safety and welfare of our valued crew members is our No. 1 priority,” the firm said. “Similar experiences show that crew members of vessels taken under such circumstances are in no danger.”

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