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Iran Summons Swiss Diplomat Over U.S. Seizing Oil Tanker In Texas

Iran has summoned the chargé d’affaires of the Swiss Embassy in Tehran to voice its “strong objection” over the U.S. seizing an Iranian oil tanker that has been sitting for months offshore Texas, the AP reported on Monday.

Since the 1979 crisis with U.S. hostages at the embassy in Tehran, Switzerland has acted as the country looking for U.S. interests in Iran.

The oil tanker, Suez Rajan, was suspected of carrying Iranian crude oil. It has offloaded the crude near Texas, the AP reported last week, adding the cargo was offloaded on another tanker.

The U.S. seized the Suez Rajan in April this year, prompting quick retaliation from Iran, which seized a Chinese-owned, Turkish-operated tanker that was loaded with crude for delivery to Chevron.

Iran claimed that the tanker collided with an unidentified Iranian vessel just hours prior to its seizure, with several crew members reportedly falling overboard while others were left injured. The tanker then fled the scene and ignored radio calls for eight hours before a court ordered its seizure.

The Suez Rajan, according to an FT report from June, had received a license from the U.S. Treasury Department to import Iranian crude into the United States. Its cargo is some 800,000 barrels of crude and, per an unnamed former member of the Biden administration, its arrival in Texas was likely the result of a deal that got struck between the administration and the owners and operators of the vessel.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said today that Tehran expressed its “strong objection” to the seizure.

The remarks come at a particularly sensitive moment in U.S.-Iranian relations. The two countries are negotiating over five Iranian Americans being held in Tehran, billions of dollars in frozen Iranian assets, the supply of Iranian drones to Russia, and a broader military buildup in the Gulf.

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By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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