Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

An Iranian oil tanker

A file photo shows an Iranian oil tanker belonging to the National Iranian Tanker Company. (Photo: Press TV)

'Act of Piracy': Iran Claims It Thwarted US Attempt to Steal Oil in Gulf of Oman

U.S. forces reportedly "seized an Iranian oil tanker" and "transferred its oil to another tanker" before Iran's Navy was able to take control of the vessel.

Jake Johnson

Iranian forces reportedly foiled an attempt by the United States Navy to capture a tanker in the Gulf of Oman and seize its oil, an alleged ploy that Iran's Press TV characterized as an "abortive act of piracy."

Without specifying when the events took place, Iran's IRNA news agency reported Wednesday that the U.S. confiscated "an Iranian oil tanker in the Sea of Oman, transferred its oil to another tanker, and [moved] the tanker to an unknown place."

In response, according to IRNA, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) forces carried out a "heliborne operation" and "took control of the tanker."

"Then the American forces pursued the tanker by helicopters and warships but failed to capture it," the outlet reported. "The tanker is now in Iranian waters."

On Wednesday morning, Iranian media outlets released video footage purporting to show glimpses of the scene, which the U.S. claims did not take place as described.

The latest reported confrontation is one of several tense incidents that have occurred in or near the Persian Gulf in recent years, repeatedly pushing the two nations to the brink of war during the Trump administration.

Al Jazeera's Ali Hashem noted Wednesday that there appears to be "a pattern" of confrontations in the region that began after former President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Iran nuclear accord in 2018.

There were "tankers that were set on fire, there were bombs on tankers, there were attempts to seize tankers—so this is not new, it's just escalating," Hashem said.

The U.S., Iran, and European nations are currently in negotiations to resume long-stalled nuclear talks, but the Biden administration is refusing to lift punitive sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy and hindered the nation's ability to combat the coronavirus pandemic. Iran has demanded a guarantee of sanctions relief as a condition for restarting nuclear negotiations.

"Recent suggestions that the U.S. should move on from diplomacy to a 'Plan B,' while hinting at the possibility of military strikes, are deeply concerning," a coalition of nearly 50 groups wrote in a letter to Biden on Tuesday. "Doubling down on the failed path of mutual pressure and recrimination will harm U.S. and regional security, weaken global nonproliferation efforts, undercut vital administration priorities like defeating Covid-19 across the globe, and risk a disastrous war."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Federal Judge Allows 'Untenable' Plan to Send Juvenile Inmates to Angola Prison

"The move defies all common sense and best practices, and it will cause irrevocable damage to our youth and families," said one children's advocate.

Julia Conley ·


'Catastrophic': Arizona Judge Allows 1864 Abortion Ban to Go Into Effect

"No archaic law should dictate our reproductive freedom," said one rights advocate.

Julia Conley ·


US Progressives Express Solidarity With Iranian Protesters After Death of Mahsa Amini

"The right to choose belongs to us all, from hijabs to reproductive care," said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Julia Conley ·


Critics of Louisiana LNG Project 'Hopeful' as Huge Sales Contracts Canceled

"The fight is not over," says one activist, but "from tax breaks to pollution and now to these recent financial downswings, we have all the evidence we need to understand that Driftwood will be a parasite."

Jessica Corbett ·


DHS Officials Urge Biden to End 'Disastrous Leadership' of Embattled IG

In an anonymous letter, the Homeland Security staffers say Inspector General Joseph Cuffari's actions "embarrass the entire agency."

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo