Why did Iran seize a US-bound oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman?

The Turkish-operated, Chinese-owned tanker entered the Gulf of Oman after passing through the Strait of Hormuz and was reportedly bound for Houston, Texas, carrying Kuwaiti crude oil for US energy firm Chevron Corp.

Iran said the tanker collided with an unidentified Iranian vessel hours before the seizure, causing several crew members to fall overboard and missing and others injured. The Iranian military said the tanker then fled and ignored radio calls eight hours before its seizure based on a court order.

"We have repeatedly asked for the ship to be stopped so that we can conduct a more comprehensive investigation, but there has been no cooperation," Mustafa Tajodini, deputy for operations in the Iranian navy, told state media.

The ship's manager, a Turkish firm called Advantage Tankers, said similar experiences showed that the crew members - all 24 of whom are Indian - are in no danger.

The US Navy's 5th Fleet, based in the Middle East, said Iran's actions violated international law and called on Tehran to release the tanker immediately.

Iran's continued harassment of vessels and interference with navigational rights in territorial waters is a threat to maritime security and the global economy," it said, adding that this was at least the fifth commercial vessel seized by Iran in the past two years.

The tanker linked to Iran was the Marshall Islands-flagged Suez Rajan, which had a Greece-based manager and was last reported to be near southern Africa before being seized several days before Iran took the Advantage Sweet vessel, the report said. Was given

After former President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled out of a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers in 2018, Washington imposed its toughest sanctions on Iran, including a major focus on disrupting Tehran's oil sales.