TEHRAN (Iran News) – Maritime Incidents Allegations, Western Psywar for New Adventurism. The Iranian Armed Forces have denounced recent contradictory reports of maritime incidents and hijacking in the Sea of Oman as a Western “psychological warfare” meant to set the ground for new adventurism.
Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi, spokesman of the Armed Forces, made the remarks on Tuesday, after Reuters claimed that “Iran-backed forces” were believed to have seized an oil tanker off the coast of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Citing maritime security sources, the report identified the seized vessel as the Panama-flagged asphalt/bitumen tanker Asphalt Princess.
Meanwhile, The Times of London newspaper quoted British sources as saying that they were “working on the assumption Iranian military or proxies boarded” the Asphalt Princess.
In a warning notice based on a third-party source, the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) alleged a “potential hijack” and advised ships to exercise extreme caution around 60 nautical miles east of the UAE’s Fujairah emirate.
Early on Wednesday though, the same agency said the suspected hijacking of a ship in the Gulf of Oman has ended and that the vessel was safe.
“Boarders have left the vessel. Vessel is safe. Incident complete,” UKMTO tweeted, without making any clarifications surrounding the incident, and without naming the vessel involved in the alleged incident.
The developments came days after the US, the UK and Israel blamed Iran for a deadly drone attack on an Israeli-managed oil tanker off the coast of Oman, but Tehran rejected the accusations as “baseless.”
In response, Shekarchi said, “Contradictory news from some Western, Zionist and Saudi media about any maritime insecurity and hijacking of ships in regional waters is a kind of psychological warfare and setting the stage for new bouts of adventurism.”
“In addition to helping the safe movement of commercial ships, the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran have full intelligence about any suspicious movements and stand completely prepared,” he told Fars news agency.
The commander also said, “The powerful naval forces of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and Army are ready to provide any assistance and dispatch relief units if necessary and at the request of foreign vessels.”