…As Iran confirms 3 Australians arrested for `spying` charges***
Iran has seized another tanker in the Persian Gulf due to alleged smuggling of diesel fuel, according to Iran’s semi-official Students News agency ISNA.
The undisclosed vessel was reportedly smuggling 250,000 liters of diesel fuel to the United Arab Emirates when it was detained by the country’s Revolutionary Guards.
ISNA noted that the tanker was detained near the Greater Tunb island in the Gulf. The ship’s crew have been handed over to legal authorities in the southern Hormozgan province.
The move comes on the back of Iran’s increased efforts to curb fuel smuggling by land to neighbouring countries and by sea to the Gulf states. Earlier this month, the country’s coast guard seized a vessel for smuggling fuel in the Gulf and detained its 12 Filipino crew members.
In July, Iran seized the UK-flagged Stena Impero near the Strait of Hormuz for alleged marine violations. Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Abbas Mousavi, on Monday noted that the tanker would be released soon.
The reported detention also occurred amid raised international tensions due to an attack on a major Saudi Arabian oil installation that happened over the weekend. Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement claimed responsibility for the strike, while the United States blamed Iran itself for the incident. Iran denied the accusation, according to Reuters.
In the meantime, Iran’s judiciary on Tuesday confirmed the detention of three Australians on suspicion of spying, Tasnim news agency reported.
The Judiciary Spokesman, Gholamhossein Esmaili, said two of the Australians had been detained while using a drone to take pictures and video of its military areas.
Esmaili explained that the other Australian was arrested for spying for another country, adding that the two cases were ready to be sent to the court.
He, however, did not elaborate further on the time of arrest and names of the detainees.
Earlier, the Australian Government said that three of its citizens had been arrested in Iran and its department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Iran was trying to provide consular assistance to their families.
Additional reports from World Maritime News