A bizarre and dangerous encounter between US naval and Iranian forces in the Sea of Oman near the Strait of Hormuz has been revealed this week, which Iran state TV says took place "recently".
Iran is alleging that a US warship "attempted to seal Iran's oil" in the Sea of Oman, but it was an attack which elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) forces thwarted, according to the account by Tehran. The US side has not recognized the Iranian narrative of events.
"Iran's state TV said US forces used helicopters and warships to try to block an Iranian oil tanker in the Sea of Oman," Reuters describes of footage aired by Iranian broadcasters. "Iran's English-Language Press TV said the tanker was back in Iran's territorial waters."
PressTV is calling the incident an "abortive act of piracy" - however, the US Navy's Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet has not confirmed or provided any information related to the alleged encounter, only saying its aware of the reports.
The detailed description of what allegedly happened is being presented Wednesday by PressTV in the following:
Reacting promptly, however, members of the IRGC’s Navy carried out a heliborne operation on the stolen ship’s deck, gained control of the vessel, and directed it back toward Iran’s territorial waters.
US forces then proceeded to chase the tanker using several helicopters and warships, but their attempt at taking over the vessel for a second time was thwarted again by Iranian naval forces.
The tanker is currently in Iranian territorial waters and under the protection of IRGC’s Navy.
If accurate, the US side would certainly possess video of the encounter, but it's only the Iranian side that's currently advancing the claims of a wild helicopter chase, including releasing clips showing IRGC fast boats through state channels...
Western media reports earlier in the week initially blamed Iran for attempts at piracy...
Meanwhile the US military is saying that the opposite happened - that it was in fact Iranian forces engaged in attempted piracy...
Later, Iran’s Oil Minister Javad Owji was reported in semi-official Tasnim as having thanked the IRGC for "rescuing the Iranian oil tanker from American pirates."
During the Trump administration, there were instances of US forces seizing some Iranian oil as tankers were en route to Venezuela; however, these examples were not in the area of the Persian Gulf, aggressive maneuvers which would be unprecedented so close to Iran's coast.