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Iran vows retaliation against tanker seizures as it bolsters naval presence

Iran has in recent months been flexing its naval capabilities in the Persian Gulf in anticipation of potential confrontations with the United States, which has dispatched reinforcements to push back on Iranian harassment of international vessels.
Large oil tanker ship in the Persian Gulf, Iran.

TEHRAN — The Islamic Republic will "reciprocate" should any Iranian oil tanker be confiscated, the country's highest-ranking navy officer warned at a time of simmering tensions with the United States in the Persian Gulf

"Bygone are the days when foreigners bullied the honorable Iranian nation to plunder their riches," said Rear Adm. Alireza Tangsiri, who commands the naval forces of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

Published by the official Islamic Republic News Agency late Monday, the commander's statement from the Persian Gulf oil-rich city of Bandar Abbas coincided with the country's key holiday celebrating the nationalization of the oil industry in 1951, which marked the end of decades-long British and American control over Iranian oil resources. 

Under severe international sanctions, Iran's lifeline oil industry has in the past few decades been scrambling to survive. Yet Iranian authorities say they have managed over time to circumvent the punitive measures and that the country's oil industry is currently independent, prospering and in good shape. 

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