DUBAI - Iran’s state-run media is quoting the country’s Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying the Islamic Republic helped an oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz amid US concern that Tehran seized one there. The state-run IRNA news agency early Wednesday quoted Abbas Mousavi as saying Iran towed an unnamed vessel to harbour after it suffered a technical malfunction. However, both the US and the United Arab Emirates, where the tanker is based, say that the vessel hasn’t been in contact with its owner since its transponder turned off late Saturday night. A US defence official told The Associated Press that America “has suspicions” Iran seized the vessel amid tensions between Tehran and Washington over its unravelling nuclear deal with world powers.

An Emirati official says a small oil tanker that’s based in the United Arab Emirates offered no distress call before switching off its tracker over two days ago in the Strait of Hormuz.

The comment Tuesday comes a US defence official told The Associated Press that America “has suspicions” that Iran seized the vessel. Tehran hasn’t commented on the apparent disappearance of the MT Riah. The Emirati official said the tanker “did not emit a distress call.” The official added: “We are monitoring the situation with our international partners.”

The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing security matter.

A US defence official tells The Associated Press that America “has suspicions” that Iran seized an oil tanker based in the United Arab Emirates that turned off its tracker over two days ago in the Strait of Hormuz.

The official said Tuesday that the MT Riah is in Iranian territorial waters near Qeshm Island, which has a Revolutionary Guard base on it.

The official says: “Could it have broken down or been towed for assistance? That’s a possibility. But the longer there is a period of no contact . it’s going to be a concern.”

The official said that the boat had yet to contact its owners or UAE authorities. The official spoke on condition of anonymity as the matter did not directly involve US interests.