Iranian forces assault a second tanker in the Strait of Hormuz bound for the U.S.

This is the second Iranian seizure in less than a week in the same area.

The stand-off between Iran and the United States in the Strait of Hormuz continues. On Wednesday, special forces of the Iranian Navy stormed a Panamanian-flagged oil tanker, the Niovi, which was on its way to the United Arab Emirates, a Sunni Muslim country, traditionally allied with Saudi Arabia and the United States, and at odds with Iran, the great Shiite power. The commercial tanker Niovi was crossing the Strait of Hormuz, which separates the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf, when it was pursued and overtaken by several speedboats belonging to the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Navy (IRGCN). Approximately twelve members of this elite Iranian Government corps surrounded, then boarded the vessel and forced it to sail into Iranian territorial waters.

This is the second illegal seizure of a foreign vessel by Iran in recent days. The Marshall Islands-flagged tanker, Advantage Sweet, was seized last week by Iranian forces after leaving Kuwait for Houston, according to the U.S. Navy. On that occasion, a video showed Iranian soldiers landing from a helicopter on the deck of the Advantage Sweet and taking control of the ship.

The United States has a military base in the territory of the United Arab Emirates, to whose capital, Dubai, the Niovi was headed as its first destination. The Strait of Hormuz, very close to the coasts of Iran, is one of the places through which most of the world's oil transits and one of the most dangerous due to the continuous illegal actions of the Army of the ayatollahs. Saudi Arabia, with the support of the Emirates and other Sunni Islamic countries, are at loggerheads with Iran, which has a Shiite Muslim majority, for the control of nearby Yemen. The country is being bled dry in a near ten-year civil war between supporters of President Al Hadi and pro-independence groups in the south of the country (Sunni), against the Shiite-majority Houthi guerrillas supported by Iran.