The crew of an oil tanker has been detained in Iran after gunboats surrounded their ship, according to reports.
Washington has blamed Tehran for attacks on two oil tankers – the Japanese-owned Kokura Courageous and Norwegian-owned Front Altair – which rattled global oil markets amid escalating tensions between the two nations.
Iran has denied responsibility, saying on Friday that America's accusations were "alarming" and it rescued the crew of the attacked tankers "in the shortest possible time".
But US officials now say Iranian gunboats surrounded the Front Altair demanding crew, according to Fox News.
The captain ordered the crew to surrender and 23 crew members are being held in Iran, the report claims.
The crew of both vessels – the Kokura Courageous and Front Altair – were forced to abandon ship as both tankers suffered explosions in a crucial shipping lane in waters between Iran and Gulf Arab states on Thursday.
The US said its Navy forces received distress calls from the Altair at 6.12am and the Kokura Courageous at 7am after they were attacked.
Navy Captain Bill Urban, a spokesman for the US military's Central Command, earlier said Iranian forces told a ship that had rescued sailors from the Altair "to turn the crew over to the Iranian (fast inshore attack craft)".
Mr Urban added: "The motor vessel Hyundai Dubai complied with the request and transferred the crew of the Altair to the Iranian (vessels)."
Iran has denied that it was responsible for the attacks, accusing the US of "warmongering".
President Hassan Rouhani said US actions pose a serious threat to stability in the Middle East.
The US military released a video on Thursday it said showed Iran's Revolutionary Guards were behind the blasts that struck the two tankers in the Gulf of Oman, at the mouth of the Gulf.
But Iran said it was being used as a "convenient" scapegoat.
Tehran and Washington have both said they have no interest in starting a war.
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