Iran says when it fired warning shots at a Marshall Islands-flagged cargo ship yesterday before boarding it and hauling it off to an Iranian port, it wasn't about sabre-rattling or political posturing, but rather just a good old-fashioned money dispute. "I think we should not read too much into it," Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in New York, where he is set tomorrow to continue talks on a nuclear deal, adding that the seizure had "nothing to do with Yemen." As the AP reports, a statement from Iranian Port and Maritime Organization says the the Maersk Line, the Danish company that chartered the MV Maersk Tigris, owed an Iranian oil company financial damages, per an Iranian court.
A Maersk rep refers to the incident as "an allegedly unresolved cargo claim," and says the company has "not received any written notification" as to the cause of the seizure and thus is unable "to confirm whether or not this is the actual reason behind the seizure." Meanwhile, Maersk says in a statement per Voice of America that the 24 crew members aboard are "safe and under the circumstances in good spirits." Iranian authorities remain aboard the Tigris as well. (Read more Iran stories.)