Iran 'seizes another vessel' in Strait of Hormuz

If confirmed, the development would represent the latest move by Iran to hamper navigation in the waterway

(FILES) In this file photo taken on July 2, 2012, members of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) ride in a speed boat in front of an oil tanker during a ceremony to commemorate the 24th anniversary of the downing of Iran Air flight 655 by the US navy, at the port of Bandar Abbas. Iran on September 16 seized a boat suspected of being used to smuggle fuel, and arrested its 11 crew members near the vital Strait of Hormuz oil shipping lane, state television reported. A naval patrol of the IRGC intercepted the vessel carrying 250,000 litres of fuel, state TV's website said, citing a commander of the force. / AFP / ATTA KENARE
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Iran has seized another vessel and its crew in the Strait of Hormuz, a semi-official Iranian news agency reported on Monday.

Fars News said that the vessel was carrying "smuggled diesel" and that its crew of 11 had been arrested.

"The ship, called Linch, sailed from the port of Lankah and was heading towards the UAE. It was stopped 20 miles east of the island of Tunb," an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps naval commander told the agency.

The islands of Abu Musa and the Greater and Lesser Tunb, a few kilometres off the UAE coastline and regarded as strategically important waypoints in the Strait of Hormuz, were seized by Iran in 1971 as the UAE was formed.

If the ship seizure is confirmed, it would represent the latest move by Iran to hamper navigation in the waterway, one of the most vital routes for global energy supplies.

The US has blamed Iran for a series of attacks on oil tankers. Iran has seized at least one British-flagged tanker and approached another.

Washington and other Western powers have accused Tehran of lashing out after the US withdrew from the nuclear deal signed in 2015.

It then imposed two rounds of crippling sanctions on the Iranian economy to disrupt what it says is malign activity across the Middle East. Iran has proxies operating in Lebanon, Yemen, the Gaza Strip and Syria.

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