Iran’s IRGC Seizes Foreign Ship Smuggling 1mln Liters of Fuel

TEHRAN– Iran’s IRGC Navy announced in a statement on Thursday that it has detained a foreign ship smuggling one million liters of fuel, in the south of the Iranian southern Kharg Island on Sunday.

"After being assured that the foreign ship was smuggling fuel and under the order of Iranian judiciary officials, IRGC navy forces seized the vessel in a surprise operation," the statement said.

"After receiving the smuggled fuel from some Iranian small vessels, the foreign ship, which has the capacity of carrying two million liters of fuel, was to deliver its cargo to other foreign vessels far from the Iranian island," the statement added, according to Mehr News Agency.

 Kharg Island is a continental island in the Gulf area belonging to Iran. The island is located 25 km off the coast of Iran and 483 km northwest of the Strait of Hormuz, the news agency said.

IRGC also rejected some western media claims about seizing an oil tanker in the Gulf by force in the weekend, highlighting that the Iranian forces continue their security and anti-smuggling operations with ‘firmness and intelligence’ and will not hesitate in defending Iran’s national interests.

Zarif: Seized vessel not a tanker, but a smuggling ship

Later on Thursday, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who is in New York to attend a meeting of the United Nations, told reporters that the vessel seized by the IRGC was not actually a tanker, but was a small ship used to smuggle one million liters – not one million barrels – of crude oil, according to Press TV.

"We do this (inspecting ships) every day. These are people who smuggle our oil,” Iran's top diplomat noted.