Iran Seizes Another Oil Tanker
Iran is continuing to push back against US sanctions. On April 27, Iranian commandos boarded a tanker headed for Texas,…
Iran is continuing to push back against US sanctions. On April 27, Iranian commandos boarded a tanker headed for Texas, in what experts believe was retaliation for the US seizure of an Iranian sanctions breaker last month. Tehran’s troops have pirated another tanker, and their campaign could have serious consequences.
Last month, an Iranian tanker loaded with illegal oil exports disappeared in the South China Sea. The vessel is believed to have been seized by US forces as part of the sanctions imposed on Iran for continuing its nuclear weapons program. Days later, Iranian Navy commandos boarded the 81,000-ton MV Advantage Sweet in the Gulf of Oman. It claimed it was detaining the tanker, which was carrying crude oil to a Chevron refinery in Houston, Texas, because it had collided with an Iranian vessel the night before; however, experts believe it was retaliation for the seizure of its own tanker.
Just six days after Advantage Sweet was boarded, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps — a paramilitary force classed as a terrorist organization by the US — boarded a second tanker, MV Niovi, in the Strait of Hormuz. Niovi was empty at the time and bound for the United Arab Emirates to pick up cargo.
The Strait of Hormuz, and the neighboring Gulf of Oman, are key strategic waterways. Most oil and gas from the Persian Gulf is shipped through the Strait, which is only 21 miles wide at its narrowest point — and the north shore of the Strait is Iranian territory. Iran has frequently used this as a natural chokepoint to harass, attack, or seize tankers. With nearly a quarter of the world’s total oil production passing through the strait (17 million barrels a day) and a third of natural gas, Iran can potentially worsen global energy shortages. If the Tehran regime can reduce traffic through the Strait and push prices up, President Biden’s attempts to control inflation will be in even more trouble than they are already.