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Oil minister thanks IRGC forces for rescuing Iranian oil from American pirates

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This file photo shows the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC)'s forces aboard a vessel. (Photo by Tasnim News Agency)

Iran's minister of oil personally thanks the country's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) for rescuing an oil cargo from "American pirates."

"I express my gratitude towards the Corps' death-defying forces," Javad Owji said in a message on Wednesday.

American forces confiscated a tanker that was carrying the cargo in the strategic Sea of Oman, transferring its consignment of Iranian crude to another vessel, the report of which was released on Wednesday. 

The IRGC then staged a maritime operation against the second vessel, landing its helicopters on its deck and navigating the ship towards Iranian waters.

The Americans tried to seize the vessel that was carrying the stolen Iranian oil back, but failed following decisive intervention by the IRGC servicemen.

A subsequent effort by American forces to block the vessel failed again and the vessel made its way to the Iranian territorial waters.

The minister said "Iran's enemies" had resorted to the act of piracy after realizing that the Islamic Republic was determined to export its fuel, despite the United States' sanctions targeting the country.

"By Gods grace...., such incidents will have no effect other than to strengthen the resolve of those who serve the people to overcome the enemies' restrictions," Owji's message concluded.

In another congratulatory message, the Palestinian Popular Resistance Committees said the IRGC's defensive operation had amounted to Iran's "establishing a new engagement equation" in the region, Lebanon's al-Ahed news website reported

The enemies of the Iranian nation only understand the language of confrontation, the exact thing that the IRGC staged today against the US Navy, the message added.

The United States returned the sanctions in 2018 after leaving a historic nuclear agreement with Iran and major world countries.

The bans have, however, failed to dissuade the Islamic Republic from seeking to ship out oil and its derivatives, which it has--since imposition of the sanctions--exported to Venezuela and Lebanon among other countries.

The confrontation in details

Later in the day, a statement issued by the IRGC's public relations office explained the incident in more detail.

The Corps said after the American forces transferred the crude to the second vessel, "timely and powerful" action by the Corps' servicemen "frustrated the operation by the terrorist US Army's naval forces to steal the Islamic Republic of Iran's oil in the Sea of Oman."

After the heliborne operation by the IRGC, the US forces started pursuing the second vessel using several helicopters and warships. They, however, stopped short of capturing it.

The US forces then dispatched more warships to block the vessel that was carrying the stolen crude."The Americans [though] decided against continuing the operation and left the area after understanding the brave and ardent fighters of the IRGC Navy's readiness and resolve for confronting whatever adventurism and threat against the interests of the Iranian nation," the statement added.

The second vessel, the Corps added, berthed at the southern Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas on October 25.

The statement finally said it would shortly circulate "vivid, telling, and undeniable" footage of the incident.

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