Iranian Navy
Iranian NavyReuters

Iranian forces seized an oil tanker carrying Iraqi crude oil destined for Turkey in the Strait of Hormuz on Thursday

According to Iran, the move was in retaliation for the confiscation last year of the same craft and its oil by the United States.

The Marshall Islands-flagged St Nikolas was seized by the United States last year in a sanctions enforcement operation when it sailed under a different name, Suez Rajan. Following the move, Iran warned the U.S. that it would "not go unanswered".

"After the theft of Iranian oil by the United States last year, St Nikolas tanker was seized by Iran's Navy this morning with a judicial order ... it is en route to Iranian ports," the regime-affiliated Fars news agency reported, citing a statement by the Navy.

According to the Financial Times, the tanker’s owner, Athens-based Empire Navigation, said in October it had settled the dispute with the US Department of Justice.

The seizure can signal the development of a new stage in the proxy war between Iran and the US and Israel, in which Iranian forces are directly involved, instead of utilizing Iranian-funded proxies like the Houthis in Yemen.