Iran seizes UAE ship as tensions mount in Gulf

Iran retaliates by seizing UAE vessel after alleging UAE shot and killed two Iranian fisherman.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

Iran announced Thursday it had seized a UAE-flagged ship after claiming the UAE coastguard had opened fire on Iranian fishing boats earlier this week, killing two fisherman and arresting a third, Iranian media reported.

The Foreign Ministry in Tehran issued a statement saying it summoned the United Arab Emirates envoy and filed a formal complaint, claiming Emirati Coast Guard vessels on Monday fired at several Iranian fishing boats.

The ministry statement said that Iran expressed its anger to the charge d’affaires from the UAE embassy in Tehran, calling on the Emirates to release the detained fisherman and the two bodies. The ministry also demanded the UAE pay compensation and take appropriate measures to prevent such incidents from happening again.

The state-run Emirates news agency WAM reported Monday that several fishing boats had illegally entered UAE territorial waters in the area of the strategic Straits of Hormuz and when they failed to heed warnings from UAE forces, “rules of engagement were applied.”

The UAE provided no other information on the incident.

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Tensions between the two countries have been rising since the announcement last week that the UAE, which faces Iran across the strategic waterway leading into the oil-rich Gulf region, was establishing diplomatic relations with Israel.

Iranian national policy seeks the “total annihilation” of Israel, and Iranian leaders condemned the UAE for making peace with the Jewish State.

The Gulf states share Israel’s fear that Iran is working to develop nuclear weapons, and issued a harsh statement calling on Iran to back off from its threats.

The head of the Gulf Cooperation Council that represents the six Arab nations neighboring Iran called on the Islamic Republic to respect the “non-interference in internal affairs” of the UAE and “to cease threatening language that does not serve security and stability in the region and the whole world.”