An oil tanker based out of the United Arab Emirates has gone missing in the Strait of Hormuz. Iran is suspected of being responsible.
Late Saturday night, the Riah, a tanker flagged as Panamanian but docked out of the UAE, moved into Iranian waters and turned off its tracking devices. A quick investigation followed, with Iran denying any direct knowledge of the ship.
A statement by the spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry gave an indirect acknowledgement of their involvement, however:
“An international oil tanker was in trouble due to a technical fault in the Persian Gulf,” spokesman Abbas Mousavi told the semi-official news agency ISNA.
“After receiving a request for assistance, Iranian forces approached it and used a tugboat to pull it towards Iranian waters for the necessary repairs to be carried out,”CBC
This course of events is deemed improbable, as the vessel sent no distress call and the UAE is considered a regional foe of Iran. It is particularly suspicious in light of last week’s failed attempt to seize the British tanker Heritage.
As yet, the United States has not released any footage or documentation indicating that they have knowledge of what happened to the Panamanian tanker. It is uncertain how extensive America’s monitoring of the region remains, which is a probable concern of Iran based on the escalating tensions in the area.