What Happened: Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps seized a foreign vessel and its crew members in the Persian Gulf on July 31 on allegations that the boat was smuggling fuel, according to Iranian state media, the BBC reported Aug. 5.
Why It Matters: Iran continues to display its ability to patrol and harass commercial shipping in the strategic Persian Gulf in part to gain leverage amid a growing confrontation with the United States and other Western countries.
Background: Iran has now admitted to seizing three vessels in the Persian Gulf in recent months, although the United States and other countries accuse Tehran of carrying out attacks against additional ships in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman in May and June.
- Iran: Tehran Flexes Its Muscles With a Missile Test (July 26, 2019)
- Iran Goes All in for a Game of Nuclear Chicken (July 11, 2019)
- Tehran Journeys Down a Provocative Nuclear Path (July 8, 2019)