Iran seizes British oil tanker, state media says

A big flag of Iran waving in the wind in Tehran, Iran.

(CNN) — Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) says its navy has captured the British-flagged oil tanker, Stena Impero, in the Strait of Hormuz, according to Iran’s state-run Press TV.

Two US defense officials also told CNN that the tanker had been seized, with one of them saying that it was taken by Iran.

A UK government spokesperson told CNN Friday that the UK is “urgently” looking into the incident. “We are urgently seeking further information and assessing the situation following reports of an incident in the Gulf,” the spokesperson said.

The ship’s seizure is yet another in an accelerating series of recent maritime episodes involving Iran.

On Thursday, the US Navy destroyed an Iranian drone using electronic jamming, a US defense official told CNN. The crew of the USS Boxer took defensive action against the Iranian unmanned aerial vehicle after it came close to the US naval ship, the official said.

Chief Pentagon Spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman said then that the USS Boxer had been in international waters where it was “conducting a planned inbound transit of the Strait of Hormuz.”

US President Donald Trump said the Iranian drone was “threatening the safety of the ship and the ship’s crew” and was “immediately destroyed.”

However, Iranian officials say none of their drones have been downed.

In another incident last week, armed Iranian boats tried unsuccessfully to impede the passage of a British oil tanker in the Persian Gulf, according to two US officials with direct knowledge of the incident.

And in June, tensions between the US and Iran escalated into a military standoff after an American drone was shot down by Iran over the Strait of Hormuz, one of the world’s most vital shipping routes.

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