18:54 GMT08 August 2020
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    It's not the first time that Iran has detained a vessel reportedly smuggling diesel fuel. Two weeks ago, Iranian coast guards reportedly seized a ship allegedly carrying nearly 284,000 litres of smuggled diesel in the Persian Gulf and detained its 12 Filipino crew members.

    Iranian ISNA news agency reported Monday that the country's Revolutionary Guards seized a vessel allegedly smuggling 250,000 litres of diesel fuel to the UAE.

    "It was detained near Iran's Greater Tunb island in the Persian Gulf...the crew have been handed over to legal authorities in the southern Hormozgan province," ISNA said.

    The UAE hasn't provided any official comment yet.

    The report comes amid tough situation in the Gulf as the US has been calling on its allies to start patrolling the area to increase the security of their vessels in the face of what it has called the "Iranian threat". 

    In recent months, Iran has detained several commercial vessels in the Strait of Hormuz, a crucial region's route of transporting oil.

    The most notable case occurred on 19 July, when the IRGC seized a British-flagged oil tanker, the Stena Impero, accusing it of violating maritime rules, ignoring warnings from the military, turning off its positioning device, and colliding with an Iranian fishing boat. 

    In the most recent development of the case, the Iranian Foreign Ministry announced that the country may release the tanker in a few days as there are only several formalities left.

    Some two weeks after the arrest of the British-flagged oil tanker, Iran detained a Panama-flagged tanker and what is believed to be an Iraqi tanker for allegedly smuggling Iranian fuel to foreign customers.

    While Panama confirmed that its ship was engaged in unlawful acts and withdrew its registration, Iraq reportedly denied ties to the other detained vessel.

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