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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran's IRGC Says It Seized Foreign Smuggling Vessel with 757,000 Liters of Fuel

Sputnik News

Tim Korso

Iranian authorities claim to have redoubled their efforts to combat smugglers of fuel and other oil-related products in recent years, claiming several dozen arrests and vessel seizures.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has reported that it seized a foreign vessel in the Persian Gulf 95 kilometers off Iran's shores, accusing its crew of smuggling fuel out of the country. The IRGC Navy's second command zone chief, General Ramezan Zirahi, said that the ship was seized as a result of coordinated efforts with the Intelligence Ministry.

The vessel, which was captured near the southern province of Bushehr, was reportedly taking 757,000 liters of diesel to foreign countries. The general's statement did not specify the ship's destination nor nationality.

The ship's seven foreign crew-members were arrested by the IRGC, which boarded the vessel and handed it over to local authorities for prosecution. General Zirahi stressed that combatting fuel smuggling is one of the IRGC Navy's priorities, as such illegal activities undermine national production and the economy.

Since March 21, the IRGC has stated that it has arrested 44 smugglers and seized several vessels carrying a total of 1.5 million liters of fuel. The fight against fuel smugglers has been actively reported by Tehran since oil and fuel sales were complicated by US unilateral sanctions. According to media reports, US sanctions did not cut off Iran's foreign oil sales completely, but affected prices due to increased risk.

A March Wall Street Journal report suggested that Iran has been using an alternative commercial network to barter its oil and fuel in exchange for necessary imports, avoiding the use of US dollars and dodging US sanctions. US sanctions against Iran were re-introduced by the Trump administration in 2018 following a unilateral pull-out from the Iran nuclear deal.

© Sputnik

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