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Iran Guards Seize Ship Smuggling Fuel in Gulf, State Media Say

FILE - A boat of Iran's Revolutionary Guard is seen at undisclosed coordinatees in the Persian Gulf, Aug 22, 2019. (West Asia News Agency via Reuters)

Iran's Revolutionary Guards seized a foreign vessel smuggling fuel in the Persian Gulf and arrested its crew members, state media said Sunday, in the third such incident reported this month.

The Guards "seized a foreign vessel carrying 200,000 liters (around 53,000 gallons) of smuggled fuel in the north of the Persian Gulf and directed it to Bushehr (port)," state broadcaster IRIB said, quoting a statement by the Guards' Navy.

"Eight crew members of the vessel, who are foreigners, were arrested and taken to Bushehr port, where they will be handed over to the judicial authorities to complete the investigation and legal processes," it added.

The crewmen's nationalities were not specified.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is the ideological arm of Iran's military.

The incident is the latest in a series of seizures of fuel-smuggling vessels in sea lanes of the Persian Gulf, where a large portion of the world's oil is produced and shipped.

On April 15, Iranian media reported the seizure of a boat carrying 250,000 liters of smuggled fuel and the arrest of its seven-member crew.

Another boat with 11 crew on board was seized on April 9, media reported.

"The fight against smuggling, especially fuel smuggling, is one of the main priorities of the IRGC Navy in order to support national production and the dynamism of the country's economy," the statement said.