Iran says it will soon release seized cargo ship

TEHRAN, Iran -- Iran says a Marshal Islands-flagged cargo vessel seized by Iranian forces in the Strait of Hormuz will be released within two days, after it pays a fine.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham told reporters Wednesday says the April 28 seizure of MV Maersk Tigris followed a legal complaint by an Iranian private company.

Afkham says that, "based on the information we have acquired, it is likely that the dispute will be settled within next two days."

Iranian forces boarded the ship after firing warning shots across the bridge, prompting the U.S. Navy to dispatch a destroyer and a plane to the area in response.

Danish shipping company Maersk Line chartered the container ship from Rickmers Ship Management in Singapore and insists it had no "special cargo" such as military equipment.

The assumption is that Iranian authorities boarded the Maersk Tigris in retaliation for having lost face when an Iranian convoy to Yemen turned around and headed home late April as U.S. warships stood in the way.

In response to the Iranian seizure of the Maersk, the U.S. military began offering optional escorts to all U.S.-flagged vessels transiting the Strait.

The Iranian decision to board the vessel was "a reflection of the fact that tensions are running very high, and these tensions don't really have borders," explained CBS News senior national security analyst Juan Zarate. "These are conflicts that are happening on the ground, they're happening in the shipping lanes, and there are places and points of vulnerability that could... serve as flashpoints for conflict."

It's worth noting, Zarate said, that the Iranians have their own economic interests in preserving the safety of the Strait of Hormuz, a body of water through which roughly 20 percent of the world's oil passes.

"They certainly want the lanes open, but they also want the world to know that they can impact the lines and that this is a point of leverage and vulnerability that Iran can use to its advantage," he said.