Iran Cracks Down on Oil Smuggling Out of Iran

For all you know, this file photo could be an oil tanker transiting the Strait of Hormuz. It's not. It's actually sailing in Venezuelan waters. But how would you know if I hadn't told you?Juan Carlos Hernandez/ZUMA

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Here’s the latest from the Persian Gulf:

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has seized a foreign tanker and 12 crew members accused of smuggling Iranian fuel, according to reports carried by Iranian state media Thursday….Quoting a Revolutionary Guard statement, the media reports said the tanker was caught transporting smuggled Iranian fuel to unspecified foreign customers. It was detained Sunday, the report said, after departing Iran’s Larak Island in the Strait of Hormuz, the strategic waterway through which a significant percentage of the world’s traded oil is transported.

Wait a second. I thought that Iran wanted to smuggle oil out of the country and it was the United States that wanted to stop it? Or is this not so much smuggling as it is just outright theft? And how is the UAE involved in this? Or are they? It’s getting hard to tell the players without a scorecard these days.

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You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

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