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Outdated Photo of Iran's Seizure of U.S.-Bound Tanker Resurfaced

Wesam Abo Marq Wesam Abo Marq
16th April 2024
Outdated Photo of Iran's Seizure of U.S.-Bound Tanker Resurfaced
The photo predates the Iranian attack on Israel ( X)

The Claim

A photo shows the recent Seizure of U.S.-Bound Tanker by Iran.

Emerging story

Amid the heightened tensions between Iran and Israel, social media users widely circulated a photo purporting to show Iranian forces seizing an Israel-linked cargo ship with 25 crew members on board, steering it towards Iran.

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Misbar’s Analysis

Misbar investigated the circulating photo and found the claim to be misleading.

After conducting a thorough reverse image search, Misbar’s team found the photo to be older than claimed and unrelated to the recent tension between the two countries.

Outdated Photo of Iran Seizure of U.S.-Bound Tanker

Contrary to the viral claim, the original photo was taken from video footage released on April 28, 2023, by the Iranian Navy.

The photo shows masked Iranian navy commandos conducting a helicopter-borne raid to seize a U.S.-bound oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman.

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A screenshot of the original photo (The New York Post)

The Associated Press released the photo along with a report detailing the seizure of the Advantage Sweet, a Turkish-managed, Chinese-owned vessel. This incident marks the most recent seizure by Iran amidst escalating tensions with the United States concerning its nuclear program.

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A screenshot of the original photo (AP)

According to the AP, Tehran asserts that the seizure of the tanker occurred due to a collision with another Iranian vessel, yet no evidence has been provided to substantiate this claim. The Islamic Republic has a history of using seized ships as leverage in negotiations with Western nations.

The U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Public Affairs has reported that this seizure marks at least the fifth commercial vessel taken by Iran in the past two years.

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A screenshot of the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Public Affairs’ statement.

The vessel's management company, Advantage Tankers, released a statement acknowledging that the Iranian navy was escorting the Advantage Sweet to a port due to an international dispute. All 24 crew members aboard the ship are Indian nationals.

Iran Retaliates After Israel Bombed the Iranian Consulate in Syria

Iran launched heavy missiles and drones targeting Israel following an Israeli airstrike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus, resulting in the deaths of several military commanders. 

This attack, carried out directly from Iranian territory, marks the first time Iran has targeted Israel without using proxies in neighboring countries. Most of the drones and missiles were intercepted. Reports indicate that Israel spent over $1 billion on defense against this Iranian attack.

Israel vowed to respond to the Iranian attack, but America refused, fearing to drag it into a wide conflict in the Middle East. An Israeli government official from the prime minister’s office has stated that although a definitive decision regarding Israel's response to Iran's attack has not been made, it is clear that a response will occur soon.

Reports suggest that U.S. President Joe Biden has advised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu against launching a retaliatory strike on Iran without U.S. support.

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