MOSCOW, July 17. /TASS/. A foreign tanker which made a distress call after experiencing a technical malfunction in the Persian Gulf was towed by the Iranian navy to the country’s territorial waters, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Tuesday.
"Iranian sailors acted in strict compliance with international rules," the Al Mayadeen TV quoted the Iranian diplomat as saying.
According to him, the ship will stay on the territory of Iran until the technical issue on board is fixed.
A Pentagon source earlier suggested that Iran seized an UAE oil tanker passing through the Strait of Hormuz, separating the Persian Gulf from the Gulf of Oman. According to Associated Press, the vessel entered the territorial waters of Iran about two days ago. After that, the system that sends a signal about the ship’s whereabouts was disabled. The tanker was reportedly passing close to an Iranian base.
UAE officials said the tanker made no distress calls during its journey.
The news followed a CNN report last week, which said, citing US administration sources, that five boats that possibly belonged to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (an elite branch of the Iranian armed forces) have allegedly tried to stop a UK tanker in the Strait of Hormuz. The UK Ministry of Defense said the operation involved three Iranian military boats, and the British Heritage commercial ship’s safe passage was ensured by the HMS Montrose warship deployed in the area.
On July 11, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps denied any attempt to detain a British tanker in the Persian Gulf.