Following reports that it's planning to release a UK-flagged oil tanker that it seized two months ago, Iran has reportedly seized a UAE-flagged vessel in the Strait of Hormuz on Monday and detained its 11-member crew.
The IRGC, which was responsible for seizing the vessel, accused it of smuggling diesel. The ship was reportedly carrying 250,000 liters of diesel when it was captured, along with 30 handheld flares, which are sometimes used for facilitating clandestine transfers at sea.
The ship's crew are reportedly being held in the coastal city of Bandar Lengeh, though it's unclear where their ship is being held.
"The ship was seized nearly 20 miles to the east of Greater Tunb with 11 seamen onboard while heading to the Arab United Emirate," IRGC general Ali Azmaei told Iranian media.
The capture was initially reported by Iran's FARS news agency, according to a tweet by Al Arabiya, a Saudi news organization.
Amid all the drama at home, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani traveled to Ankara for a meeting with the presidents of Turkey and Russia on Monday.
روحانی که برای شرکت در نشست سه جانبه روسای جمهور ایران، ترکیه و روسیه به آنکارا سفر کرده، دقایقی پیش با اردوغان رییس جمهور ترکیه دیدار کرد. pic.twitter.com/l5NZcwrf3U— خبرگزاری فارس (@FarsNews_Agency) September 16, 2019
In case the seizure ratchets up tensions with Iran even further, Navy data compiled by Stratfor offer a reminder that the US military remains "locked and loaded," with one Carrier Strike Group and one Amphibious Ready Group stationed in the waters near Iran.