The Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has shared footage showing its personnel boarding an oil tanker in the Sea of Oman a few hundred meters away from US Navy warships.
In a statement released on November 3 morning, the revolutionary guards claimed that its Navy Force thwarted an attempt by the US Navy to steal an Iranian oil shipment.
According to the statement, the US confiscated a tanker carrying Iranian oil in the Sea of Oman and unloaded the oil to another tanker and direct it to an unknown destination. The IRGC Navy reacted quickly and managed to land special forces aboard the tanker, the Vietnamese-flagged tanker Sothys, which was moved to Iranian waters.
The footage released by the IRGC shows Iranian personnel boarding the oil tanker right in front of two US Navy destroyers, USS Michael Murphy and USS Michael Murphy.
A US defense official confirmed to Newsweek that Iran seized an oil tanker in the Sea of Oman last week. However, he dismissed the IRGC’s story.
“We’re refuting the Iranian claims that they prevented us from taking back this vessel,” the official said. “Here’s the bottom line: This occurred last week. U.S. naval forces in the Gulf of Oman observed Iranian naval forces seize this oil tanker.”
“There were over 10 Iranian fast boats that swarmed this thing,” the official said. “There was a helicopter seen flying around, and, bottom line, our forces responded to monitor the situation.”
According to the official, the US Navy didn’t intervene and take action against the IRGC’s naval forces “due to a number of sensitivities.”
The incident demonstrates Iran’s growing influence in the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman. It also raises some serious questions about US Navy operations in the region.
Despite Washington’s decision to ignore the incident, the upcoming talks on Tehran’s nuclear program in Vienna will likely be affected by it.