Iran Seizes Israel-Linked Container Ship

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Directly and through proxy groups like the Houthis in Yemen, Iran has been disrupting commercial shipping in the Persian Gulf for years.

Christopher F. Schuetze

Iranian forces seized a container ship with links to Israel in the Persian Gulf on Saturday, as leaders in the Middle East and beyond watched for a retaliatory strike by Iran against Israel.

MSC, a major shipping company, said on Saturday that the MSC Aries, which is registered in Portugal, had been boarded by “Iranian authorities” via helicopter as it passed the Strait of Hormuz.

A video shared by Iranian state media showed a military helicopter hovering above what appeared to be the stern of the ship, with at least two soldiers descending a rope onto the deck.

The soldiers were part of the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy, according to IRNA, the state news agency.

A spokesperson for the U.S. National Security Council, Adrienne Watson, called on Iran to release the vessel and its crew immediately.

“Seizing a civilian vessel without provocation is a blatant violation of international law, and an act of piracy by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization,” she said in a statement. “It must be condemned unequivocally, and we will work with our partners to hold Iran to account for its actions.”

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