Iran seizes second oil tanker in a week in ‘threat to global economy’

Iran has seized a second oil tanker in Gulf waters in a week as tensions with the US increase.

The US Navy said Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard seized the vessel in the Strait of Hormuz after it had “forced” the Panama-flagged tanker Niovi to change course.

The American military published pictures of small vessels surrounding the tanker.

It comes after Iran seized an oil tanker, the Advantage Sweet, carrying crude for US energy firm Chevron last week.

The incidents come amid wider tensions between Tehran and the US over its nuclear programme.

The US Navy said: “Iran’s actions are contrary to international law and disruptive to regional security and stability.

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

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Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency, believed to be close to the Revolutionary Guard, reported the paramilitary force had seized a tanker it described as a “violator”.

Shipping registries show the Niovi as being managed by Smart Tankers of Piraeus, Greece.

Wednesday’s action by Iran is the latest in a string of ship seizures since Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from Iran’s nuclear deal.

The international deal had seen Tehran drastically limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.

Iranian tanker seizures have continued since 2019.