Iran intercepted and seized a ship carrying 800 tonnes of contraband Iraqi oil through Iranian territorial waters, the official IRNA news agency announced Sunday. It said the ship was registered in Belize but did not indicate when the seizure had taken place.
Iran in recent months has announced the seizure of more than a dozen ships that were defying the international embargo on Iraqi oil exports in force since Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990.
The United States claims Iraqi President Saddam Hussein could be taking in up to a billion dollars a year from oil smuggled through Iranian waters, while Iran has benefitted to the tune of $500 million a year. The US navy, which participates in a multinational Gulf force to patrol against Iraqi oil exports, has projected that 4.8 million tonnes of contraband Baghdad oil will move through the Gulf this year.
© Agence France Presse 2000