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Iran says it seized ships in Gulf for alleged fuel smuggling

The seizure and arrest of the foreign crew members occurred south of the disputed Abu Musa island, according to Iranian state media.
Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps speedboats cruise past an oil tanker off the port of Bandar Abbas, southern Iran, on July 2, 2012.

Iranian naval forces seized two vessels on Wednesday that were allegedly smuggling fuel.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Navy seized the two ships south of the disputed Abu Musa island in the Gulf. The ships were allegedly smuggling 4.5 million liters (1.2 million gallons) of fuel. The IRGC Navy arrested 34 foreign crew members of the ships during the seizure, the Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

Why it matters: Iran regularly works to prevent tankers from smuggling fuel and reported another seizure of foreign tankers in September.

Low fuel prices in Iran due to subsidies and the weak value of the rial contribute to the occurrence of fuel smuggling, according to Iran International.

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