The Iranian regime’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) seized two Greek oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz in an apparent retaliatory move. But all facts on the ground confirm this brazen piracy in line with Tehran’s extortion campaign.
The Greek foreign ministry described the seizure of the tankers as “acts of piracy,” and there have been calls for holding Tehran accountable for its maritime terrorism.
On Friday, the IRGC forces boarded the Prudent Warrior, a Greek-owned vessel. The second vessel is identified as Delta Poseidon. Tehran seized these vessels a month after Athens seized the Russian-flagged Pegas oil tanker, aka Lana, for carrying sanctioned Iranian oil. The U.S. announced this week it had taken the oil from Lana.
In its statement on Friday, the IRGC blatantly declared, “This is the Persian Gulf and has one custodian.” Hossain Shariatmadari, the editor-in-chief of Kayhan daily, applauded the regime’s maritime terrorism and called for more “retaliatory” actions against “hostile nations” to secure the regime’s “interests.”
Kayhan is the mouthpiece of the regime’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei. So, when Shariatmadari emphasizes that “Iran has the right to close the Strait of Hormuz when its interests are jeopardized,” he underscores the regime’s hostile foreign policy.
Tehran seized the Greek oil tankers days after the United States announced it would keep the IRGC on the Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) list. Besides, talks in Vienna to restore the highly flawed Iran 2015 nuclear deal with world powers have stalled due to Tehran’s brazen demands, such as revoking the IRGC’s designation.
Seizing the regime’s crude was in the framework of sanctions imposed on Iran’s oil export, the revenue of which has been squandered on terrorism by the ruling theocracy. But why did Tehran not act immediately and jump into action weeks after its crude oil was seized?
This action is indeed in line with the regime’s hostile foreign policy, centered on extortion and terrorism. But it could have severe consequences for Tehran, especially as many western diplomats engaged in Vienna talks undermine the possibility of reaching a deal with the Iranian regime.
Tehran desperately needs cash to fund its illicit activities, so the regime intends to continue its extortion campaign, either by violating its commitments under the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal or by explicit acts of hostility and terrorism.
Iran suffers from an economic crunch due to the regime’s corruption, ineptitude, and mismanagement. International sanctions imposed due to the regime’s warmongering policies aggravate the country’s financial calamity.
Protests erupted across Iran in recent weeks, with people chanting against the regime official for creating and exacerbating the country’s economic crises, leaving millions of Iranians in abject poverty.
These protests are signs of a volatile society. In addition to oppressing the society, Tehran needs to exhibit a hollow show of power and saber-rattling to boost the morale of its demoralized forces.
In November 2021, the IRGC made a great deal of fanfare of preventing the U.S. from “stealing an Iranian oil tanker in the Sea of Oman.”
Pentagon immediately rejected this, calling it a ‘bogus claim.’ “I’ve seen the Iranian claims. They are absolutely totally false and untrue. It’s a bogus claim,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters.
It was later revealed Tehran had seized a tanker in October. According to the Tanker Trackers website, the vessel “attempted to make a delivery of 700,000 barrels of Iranian crude oil to China but was rejected. SOTHYS [the vessel] then sailed all the way back to Iran and dropped anchor in Bandar Abbas. Yesterday she was relocated to the Strait of Hormuz.”
SOTHYS attempted to make a delivery of 700,000 barrels of Iranian crude oil to China but was rejected. SOTHYS then sailed all the way back to Iran and dropped anchor in Bandar Abbas. Yesterday she was relocated to the Strait of Hormuz. pic.twitter.com/Y9JRYWJEbq
— TankerTrackers.com, Inc. (@TankerTrackers) November 3, 2021
So the regime officials boasting about taking more “punitive actions” against Greece and threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz show no strength.
Tehran continues its piracy and maritime terrorism in the absence of a firm policy. The more western powers negotiate with the regime, the more it emboldens Tehran to continue its extortion.
The ground is shaking under the mullahs’ regime in Iran. People are calling for regime change, and state media acknowledge another uprising is on the horizon.
On May 26, the state-run Mehr news agency published an article that it quickly deleted, warning officials about the regime’s “inevitable downfall.”
“Officials have long forgotten they ought to serve people. Thus, we are on the brink, and our wrongheaded decisions come with a price. After the news of corruption in the Supreme Leader’s inner circle became public, the protests due to living conditions continued to spread. Even security forces are unsatisfied, as they must face their family members or friends in protests. The time has come for those ruling the country for 33 years [Khamenei] to step down, and others take the lead,” the article reads.
So, as the Iranian Resistance has long emphasized, “Only a firm policy and the imposition of international sanctions can stop piracy and maritime terrorism by the religious and terrorist dictatorship ruling in Iran.”