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The alleged seizure is reminiscent of a diplomatic incident which took place last year in which authorities in Gibraltar seized an Iranian tanker making its way to Syria after a tipoff from Washington, which prompted Tehran to seize a British-flagged tanker in a tit-for-tat response. Both tankers were eventually released.
The Pakistani Navy has reportedly seized an Iranian oil tanker in the port of Karachi upon the request of the United States, the Fars News Agency has reported, citing Pakistani Senator Rehman Malik, secretary of the senate’s internal affairs committee.
“We have warned against the transfer of Iranian oil to Pakistan. This is an important international issue and will lead to pressure on Pakistan,” Malik said, noting that the transfer of Iranian oil to Pakistan would be a violation of Islamabad’s embargo and sanctions against Tehran.
According to the senator, an unnamed ‘American organization’ monitored the Iranian tanker’s movements, and “informed the Pakistani government to seize it” and “to take legal action regarding the consequences of importing and exporting as well as refining [of] Iranian oil.”
Iranian officials say they have received no word of the alleged tanker seizure. Seyyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini, Iran’s Ambassador to Pakistan, has said Tehran has not been formally notified about the alleged incident by Islamabad.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi similarly indicated that the ministry has yet to receive confirmation on whether such an incident has taken place.
“As far as we have checked, nothing has been officially announced to Iran in this regard and we have not received any official news about the seizure of an Iranian ship, but from relevant departments, we are following up and receiving the news, and after determining its accuracy, will announce the accurate information,” Mousavi said in a press conference Monday.