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    Oil Tanker with 24 Indian Crew Members Bound for Houston Seized by Iran Navy Near Oman

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    Iran’s navy seized an oil tanker with Indian crew members in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday. The Marshall Islands-flagged vessel, named Advantage Sweet, was heading to the US from Kuwait, and had just passed through the Strait of Hormuz. The US Navy’s 5th Fleet said Iran’s actions were “contrary to international law and disruptive to regional security and stability,” and called for the immediate release of the tanker. The vessel’s manager, Turkish firm Advantage Tankers, acknowledged the seizure as being based on an “international dispute,” but said the crew members were safe.

    The seizure is the latest in a series of incidents in the region, including a series of limpet mine attacks on tankers in 2019 and 2021. The US has blamed Iran for these attacks, which began after President Donald Trump withdrew from Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers in 2018. Talks over the deal have been stalled for a year, and Iran has since increased its enrichment of uranium. The International Atomic Energy Agency has warned that Iran has enriched enough up to 60% purity, a short technical step from weapons-grade levels of 90%.

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    Iran denies carrying out the attacks on tankers and has made allegations in other seizures that later fell apart. The country’s state-run news agency said the seizure of the Advantage Sweet came after an “unknown ship collided with an Iranian vessel last night in the Persian Gulf, causing several Iranian crew members to go missing and get injured.” However, no other ship involved in the alleged collision has been identified. Maritime security firm Dryad Global said the incident was commensurate with Iran’s established pattern of targeting vessels as a result of ongoing disputes.

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