10:36 GMT +307 December 2019
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    Iranian Revolutionary Guard speedboat moves in the Persian Gulf near an oil tanker (File)

    Tehran Says Iran Navy Aids Disabled Foreign Oil Tanker - Report

    © AP Photo / Vahid Salemi
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    A spokesperson for the Iranian Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that the Iran Navy came to the assistance of a disabled foreign oil tanker in the Persian Gulf in need of repairs, Reuters reported, citing the ISNA news agency.

    "...An international oil tanker was in trouble due to a technical fault in the Persian Gulf... After receiving a request for assistance, Iranian forces approached it and used a tugboat to pull it towards Iranian waters for the necessary repairs to be carried out", Abbas Mousavi said, quoted by the ISNA news agency, according to Reuters.

    Earlier in the day, a US defence official told AP that Washington had "suspicions" that Tehran had seized a United Arab Emirates-based oil tanker that had turned off its tracker over two days ago in the Strait of Hormuz.

    According to AP, the official spoke on condition of anonymity as the matter did not directly involve US interests.

    On 4 July, the government of Gibraltar, assisted by UK Royal Marines, detained an Iranian supertanker loaded with two million barrels of crude oil. Gibraltar said that it "had reasons to believe" that the tanker was headed to the Banyas Refinery, which belongs to an entity subject to EU sanctions against Syria.

    Iran denied that the ship was transporting oil to Syria. Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell claimed that the vessel had been detained at the request of the United States, which has been seeking to cripple Iran's oil exports.

    The collapse of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) treaty has, in recent months, led to a dramatic increase in tensions between Tehran and Washington.

    The United States blamed Iran for a series of security incidents, including attacks on tankers in the Gulf of Oman, and built up its military presence in the Middle East. Iran rejected the accusations and accused the United States of seeking a pretext for war.

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    assistance, oil tanker, Iran
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