Los Angeles Times

Tension rises as Iran seizes tanker

WASHINGTON - Iran's detention of two British-owned oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz sharply escalated tensions with London and Washington on Friday, increasing the odds that the two allies would undertake new military steps to protect shipping in the strategically important Middle East waterway.

Naval forces from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps seized the British-flagged tanker Stena Impero, claiming it failed to follow international maritime regulations while transiting the strait, according to Iran state media.

The tanker "was seized by the IRGC due to violating international regulations," the Revolutionary Guard said in a statement. "After it was seized it was transferred to Iranian shores to undergo legal procedure."

Another tanker was boarded by armed Iranian naval forces on Friday but later allowed to proceed, according to the Iranian news service FARS. The ship, named the Mesdar, is Liberian-flagged but operated by Norbulk Shipping, a U.K.-based company.

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