Centcom, the US headquarters in the Middle East and Central Asia, posted a video on its Twitter account reporting that Iranian forces had stopped and taken control of an oil tanker in international waters in the Persian Gulf. The ship was called “Villa,” and was flying the Liberian flag.
The United States accused Iranian forces of boarding an oil tanker in international waters before the United Nations Security Council was expected to vote on a US draft resolution to extend the arms embargo on Iran. The arms embargo is set to expire after about two months.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani described the construction of the Goreh-Jask pipeline as one of the projects of the Ministry of Petroleum in the provinces of West Azerbaijan, Markazi, and Hormozgan. According to the news sources, Rouhani made remarks at a ceremony, which took place on Thursday.
Iran said on Thursday that it had tested new cruise missiles during an exercise carried out in the North Indian Ocean, near the Gulf of Oman. During the exercises, which saw Navy forces engaged, medium and long range missiles were launched, both land-sea and sea-sea, from the coast and from the bridges of the ships.
The British ship Stena Impero, captured by Iran in the waters of the Strait of Hormuz, at the gates of the Persian Gulf, has left the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas to international waters, according to the maritime authorities on Friday. The Organization of Ports and Navigation of Hormozgan province, whose capital is Bandar Abas, announced that the ship left the port at 09:00 local time. The commander and crew of Stena Impero gave their formal and written commitment that they have no claims, despite the fact that the ship was seized. The judicial case against the ship remains, “open” in Iranian courts.
The British Secretary of Defense has announced that the country has deployed another warship to secure shipping in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz. It is the third British warship to be deployed since the British oil tanker, Steno Impero, was seized by Iran in July. It is said to have a mission to guarantee free shipping in international waters.
Australia has said it is ready to join the US-led coalition to protect shipping in the Strait of Hormuz. On Wednesday, August 21, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his country plans to join the US-led international coalition in the Persian Gulf and protect oil tankers and merchant ships “against threats posed by Iran.”
The US requested collaboration to protect the transit of oil tankers after the incident with the British ship. After recent incidents in the Strait of Hormuz, the White House asked its international partners to collaborate in a joint military mission, called Operation Sentinel, to protect the transit of commercial tankers through the mouth of the Persian Gulf. The Pentagon aims to add its partners in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East in this naval effort.
A month ago, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard shot down an unmanned American drone in the Strait of Hormuz. Later that week, President Trump called off a retaliatory military attack on Iran at the last minute. He explained the next day that he did not believe the loss of Iranian lives to be proportionate to the loss of a machine. On Thursday, the United States appeared to level the score. US Marines jammed an unmanned Iranian drone in the Strait, downing the aircraft and destroying it. The incident reignited tensions between the two countries, which seem to be stumbling toward war.