DUBAI -Iran’s Revolutionary Guards thwarted an attempt by the United States to detain a tanker carrying the Islamic Republic’s oil in the Sea of Oman, the elite force said in a statement on Wednesday.
U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the Iranian report was not true and there had been no American attempt to seize a tanker.
“With the timely and authoritative action of the Guards naval forces, the US terrorist Navy’s operation to steal Iranian oil in the Sea of Oman failed,” Iran’s Guards said in a statement published by Iranian state media.
“The tanker carrying Iran’s oil docked at the port of Bandar Abbas on October 25.”
Iran has repeatedly warned the United States about its military activities in the Gulf, saying that the Guards naval forces have increased patrols to also secure the passage of Iranian ships and combat fuel smuggling.
Giving details of the reported incident, Press TV said the elite Guards had reacted “promptly” when the Iranian oil tanker was detained in the Sea of Oman.
“Members of the Guards naval forces carried out a heliborne operation on the detained tanker’s deck, gained control of the vessel, and directed it back toward Iran’s territorial waters,” Press TV reported.
Tensions have risen between Tehran and Washington over Iran’s return to talks aimed at reviving a 2015 deal under which Iran curtailed its nuclear programme in exchange for a lifting of global sanctions.
Iran’s top security official Ali Shamkhani said on Wednesday that the talks would fail unless U.S. President Joe Biden could guarantee that Washington would not renege on the nuclear agreement in the future.
“The U.S. President, lacking authority, is not ready to give guarantees. If the current status quo continues, the result of negotiations is clear,” Shamkhani tweeted.
Separately, American officials told Reuters that multiple drones, believed to be Iranian, had come close to the U.S. Navy amphibious assault ship Essex in the Strait of Hormuz in the past 24 hours.