Iran Imposes Its Rule of Engagement: “An Eye for an Eye”

Source

The Straits of Hormuz

By Elijah J. Magnier: @ejmalrai

Iran has meticulously selected its political steps and military targets in recent months, both in the Gulf and the international arena. Its partial and gradual withdrawal – tactical yet lawful -from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known as the nuclear deal, is following a determined path. Its clear objective is to corner the US President and his European allies, and indeed Iran seems aiming for a final withdrawal from the JCPOA. Also, despite the effect the US sanctions are having on the Iranian economy – and despite Iran’s determination to reject US hegemony – Iranian officials have publicly put on hold a Russian offer to support its oil sales.

In Iran, sources confirm that “China rejected the US sanctions and Russia offered to sell one million barrels daily for Iran, and to replace the European financial system with another if needed. But why would Iran make it easy on those who signed the deal (Europe)? If the European countries are divided and not in a position to honour the deal why did they sign it in the first place? Iran will pull out gradually, as stated in the nuclear agreement, up to a complete withdrawal. Iran is experiencing a recession (Trump is expected to be re-elected, which will prolong it), but is not in poverty, and is far from being on its knees economically and politically”.

Despite the harsh US sanctions, Iran is sending unusual and paradoxical signs, playing down the effect of the economic crisis and showing how less than relevant the Trump administration’s measures are: it has frozen the Russian offer designed to ease its financial burden by selling one million barrels of oil daily, and by stepping in to replace the European financial system. The only plausible interpretation is that Iran is determined to pull out of the nuclear deal if possible without invoking worldwide sanctions. In parallel, its military steps continue at a calculated pace.

IRGC Navy speed boats circling the British-flag tanker Stena Impero to slow it down before boarding it by Special Forces.

None of the several military objectives that have been hit in recent months was a casual or impulsive response, starting from the al-Fujeira sabotage, followed by the drone attacks on Aramco pumping stations, and ending with the damage to a Japanese tanker. The first action was not officially claimed by Iran. The second was claimed by the Houthis in Yemen. The third was against a Japanese tanker and the attacker is still at large, officially unknown.

However, Iran came out in public to announce its downing of the US surveillance drone and its capture of a British tanker in the Gulf of Oman. The ship was forced to sail into the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas. Every single reaction by Iran’s opponents was envisaged and calculated by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and the preparation of these attacks was perfectly planned and equally well executed. However, this doesn’t mean Iran did not take into consideration a possible war scenario where missiles could potentially fly in all directions. Iran is harassing, engaging, and even playing with Trump and Netanyahu’s threats of war, walking on the edge of the abyss.

Most Iranian leaders are repeating the clear message: no one will export oil if we can’t. It is also telling neighbouring countries that any attempt to export their oil by bypassing the Straits of Hormuz will be thwarted, hence the attacks on al-Fujeirah (the Emirates) and Aramco (Saudi Arabia). Both were potential substitutes, ways to export Middle Eastern oil without going through the Iranian controlled straits.

Iran chose to down an unmanned drone, where it could have downed a US spy aircraft with 38 officers onboard. The same US President- who was embarrassed by the lack of reaction to the downing of the drone – had to thank Iran for not shooting down the spy plane with the US personnel on board. That was a masterly planned decision: cool thinking by the IRGC leadership in the face of tough alternatives.

Trump could justify his failure to react by the lack of human victims; he was certainly aware that any military friction could blow up his chances of re-election: a factor very carefully calculated by Iran. Limited war is not an option available to Trump.

Moreover, after the UK Royal Marines landed by helicopter on the Iranian super tanker “Grace 1” to capture it – despite the fact that neither Iran nor Syria are part of the EU, and thus they are not legitimate targets for the sanctions to be applied and validated in this case – Iran first gave a chance to the French envoy Emmanuel Bonne to find an exit to the crisis. When the UK decided to keep “Grace 1” for another month, hours later Iranian IRGC special Forces captured – using the “cut and paste” style of boarding- the British tanker “Stena Impero”, a UK ship, just at the moment when that government was at its weakest, and the UK Prime Minister was bailing out. Again, very thoughtfully planned, and a well-calculated risk.

The US pushed the UK to move against Iran but stood idly by,watching the humiliationof the former “British Empire” which indirectly dominated Iran during the Shah era and before the Imam Khomeini came to power in 1979.

Iran took the UK tanker from the Gulf of Oman and offered a mediocre pretext, equal to the British one when capturing “Grace 1” in Gibraltar. Iran is telling the British that no war confrontation took place and no human losses are registered so far even if the Middle East is in the middle of a war-like situation with the US economic war on Iran.

So far, not one victim has been recorded, notwithstanding the massive and important events that involved several sabotage operations, the downing of one of the most sophisticated and expensive US drones, the capture of two tankers, and a warning to a US spy plane which escaped Iranian missiles by a hair’s breadth.

Iranian Leader Sayyed Ali Khamenei ordered the IRGC to continue developing its missile programme and injected billions of dollars into it. The leader criticised both President Hassan Rouhani and the Foreign Minister Jawad Zarif for leading the country to a deal with the US and the EU when both are partners to each other and cannot be trusted. Therefore, the only exit seems the direction Iran is taking, particularly since Europe remains divided. The UK is heading towards selecting a Trump-like leader, Boris Johnson, the US President’s favourite candidate. The UK is in a critical situation where the “no-deal British exit” (hard Brexit) from the European community will weaken the country and isolate it- and certainly Trump will not bother to rescue it.

Iran is exposing its policy now: an eye for an eye. It is as prepared for war as much as US; prepared for the “absolute worst” as Trump has said. The US is building up its military capability by re-opening its air base in Saudi Arabia (Prince Sultan desert base) – the same base that the US used for its war against Saddam Hussein in 1990. Iran is active with its allies, Palestinian groups, the Lebanese Hezbollah, various Iraqi groups and Yemeni allies to provide these with enough missiles to sustain a long war if need be, yet without obviously provoking it.

Iran wil continue its war in the shadows, and will continue harassing the western countries, disregarding the Arab states so that its war is not turned in a sectarian direction. Middle Eastern peoples are watching the dangerous bickering and can see Iran’s finger is on the trigger. It is gripping it firmly, without no hesitation to fire when appropriate, and regardless of who is the opponent or opponents.

The USl most likely will have to wait and think carefully about its next move, particularly the building up of a maritime security coalition to patrol the Gulf and protect ships during the six hours needed for the transit of the Straits of Hormuz. The more western military presence there is in the vicinity of Iran, the richer the bank of objectives and targets offered to the IRGC, and the easier it becomes for Tehran to select its choice of target – in case of war – without launching long-range missiles against US bases established in the Middle East or any other long-distance target.

Washington won’t go to war if the outcome is not clear at least for itself. And, with Iran, no outcome can be predicted with certainty. Iran is aware of this US weakness, and is playing with it. It is showing that the West, for all its bulky muscles, is fragile and even vulnerable.

Proofread by: Maurice Brasher and C.G.B.

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Iran Parliament Speaker Calls Supporting Palestinians Islamic Duty

By Staff, Agencies

Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani reiterated the Islamic Republic’s unwavering support for Palestine and said backing the oppressed people of Palestine is a religious obligation.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran’s policy is always to support the oppressed people of Palestine and it pursues the Palestinian issue with full sensitivity,” Larijani said at a meeting with Deputy Head of Hamas’ Political Bureau Saleh al-Arouri in Tehran late on Tuesday.

Larijani further described the US government’s “deal of the century” plan as “failed from the beginning” and said, “Except for a few Arab states, no country took this issue seriously especially because Trump, whose weakness is his market-based foreign policy, does not have an acceptable position in the international arena.”

He went on to say that Iran regards supporting Palestine as an Islamic duty, adding, “The path of resistance should be followed and this is the only way to make the enemies of Palestine regret [their moves against it].”

The Hamas official, for his part, expressed satisfaction at his visit to Iran and said, “Today the region is in a sensitive and difficult situation.”

“Therefore, we should rise the level of our convergence and prevent ‘Israel’ and the US from infiltrating into the region,” he added.

Earlier last month, Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei said during the Eid al-Fitr sermons in Tehran that the US-‘Israeli’ plot against Palestinians is doomed to failure and will never materialize.

Decrying the US deal of the century conspiracy, Imam Khamenei said the betrayal of the cause of Palestine by some Muslim countries, including Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, has provided the grounds for “the evil plot”.

The deal of the century will never materialize, Imam Khamenei said, expressing gratitude to some Arab countries and the Palestinian groups that have voiced their opposition to the deal.

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حرب الخلجان والمضائق طهران تمنع تقدّم الأطلسي باتجاه موسكو وبكين

يوليو 22, 2019

محمد صادق الحسيني

كلّ شيء يحصل في بحر العرب وخليج فارس من حرب ناقلات وتحفز وأرصاد الى تعارض إرادات وديبلوماسية حياكة السجاد تشي بما يلي:

انّ ما يطلق عليه الأزمة الأميركية الإيرانية، الدائرة الآن في الخليج وبحر العرب وبقية مناطق الإقليم، من اليمن الى العراق وسورية ولبنان وفلسطين، ليست أزمة عادية وإنما هي معركة استراتيجية كبرى بين كتلتين دوليتين هما :

الهضبة الإيرانية المتمثلة بالجغرافيا ونظام الحكم والأمة الإيرانية ومعه حلف المقاومة، بدعم روسي صيني متعدد الأوجه والمسارات…

الولايات المتحدة الاميركية، مدعومة من حلف شمال الأطلسي بشكل كامل ومن الأنظمة العربية العميلة في جزيرة العرب، الى جانب الكيان الصهيوني طبعاً.

وهي بمعنى من المعاني إنهاء هيمنة القطب الواحد، ايّ الولايات المتحدة، على العالم.

لا يوجد أيّ أفق، لا على الصعيد التكتيكي ولا على الصعيد الاستراتيجي، لتحقيق أيّ من أهداف الولايات المتحدة، لا في منطقة الصراع المفتوح حالياً ولا مناطق أخرى من ساحات المواجهة، مثل وسط آسيا أو بحر الصين أو منطقة البحر الأسود/ أوكرانيا. وكذلك هو الوضع في منطقة بحر البلطيق/ شمال غرب روسيا، حيث يستمرّ تحشيد قوات كبيرة لحلف الناتو بالقرب من الحدود الروسية الشمالية الغربية/ أيّ بالقرب من مدينة لينينغراد ذات الرمزية التاريخية والوطنية الكبرى في روسيا خضعت لحصار الجيوش الألمانية لمدة 900 يوم دون أن تستسلم .

يتمثل الجانب الاستراتيجي، في المعركة الدائرة حالياً، في انّ إيران تتصدّى بشكل مباشر لمحاولات الولايات المتحدة السيطرة، ليس فقط على منابع النفط الموجودة في الجزيرة العربية وإيران بهدف التحكم في إمدادات الطاقة للأسواق الصينية والباكستانية وأسواق دول شرق آسيا لإبطاء نمو اقتصاديات هذه الدول وإضعاف قدرتها على منافسة الولايات المتحدة، على الصعيد الدولي، وانما تتعدّى الأهداف الأميركية كلّ ذلك، حيث انّ طبيعة هذه المواجهة تشمل قبل كلّ شيء الجوانب الاقتصادية الدولية. وبكلام أكثر وضوحاً فإنّ واشنطن ودول الناتو يحاولون السيطرة على منطقة المواجهة الحاليّة، الممتدة من سواحل فلسطين المحتلة غرباً وحتى سواحل الصين وروسيا الشرقية على المحيط الهادئ.

اما كلمة سر هذا الجانب الاستراتيجي فهي: مشروع الطريق والحزام الصيني، ذو الطابع الدولي والعابر للقارات، الذي سيكرّس إنهاء السيطرة الاقتصادية والمالية الأميركية على مقدرات شعوب العالم.

وهذا يعني أنّ معركة إيران، ومعها حلف المقاومة، الحاليّة، مع الأطراف الاستعمارية المذكورة أعلاه، هي معركة فرط استراتيجية، يتمثل هدف إيران وحلفائها، من وراء خوضها، في ما يلي:

ـ إنجاز حقوق إيران، ليس فقط في المجال النووي، وإنما في الحفاظ على أمن الملاحة البحرية في كلّ المنطقة الممتدة من خليج عدن وحتى غرب المحيط الهندي. وهو ما يشكل مانعاً قوياً أو خط دفاع أوّل عن حدود الصين الغربية وحدود روسيا الجنوبية الغربية.

ـ إنهاء عوامل التوتر المتجدّد في الإقليم وذلك باقتلاع جذور أسبابه، المتمثلة في الوجود العسكري الاميركي الأطلسي المكثف في جزيرة العرب وفي بحار المنطقة وصولاً الى بحر الصين الجنوبي، خاصة أنّ سلاح البحرية الإيراني قادر، ودون أدنى شك، على تأمين خطوط الملاحة بكلّ كفاءة واقتدار.

ـ أما آلية الحماية المنشودة فيمكن تحقيقها، وبكلّ سهولة، عبر تطبيق الاقتراح الإيراني، المقدّم منذ أشهر، والذي ينص على إنشاء نظام أمني إقليمي تشارك فيه كلّ دول المنطقة، العربية منها وغير العربية، كباكستان وإيران، وإخلاء المنطقة من القواعد والأساطيل الأجنبية.

أما في ما يتعلق باحتمالات سير هذه المعركة، وتطوراتها في الميدان، فإنّ ذلك لن يتعدّى مرحلة ممارسة التفاوض تحت النار، أيّ انّ طرفي المعركة، خاصة إيران وحلف المقاومة، سيواصلان تنفيذ خطوات للضغط العسكري على العدو، على امتداد ساحة المواجهة، وذلك لثقتها الكاملة بنفسها وقدراتها أولاً ولتيقنها من محدودية قدرات العدو ثانياً.

وعندما نتحدث عن محدودية قدرات العدو فإننا بالأكيد لا نعني انّ قدرات إيران العسكرية تفوق في حجمها قدرات المعسكر المعادي، وإنما نعني محدودية قدرة العدو في استخدام ما لديه من قدرات عسكرية. وهذا ما يسمّى في علم السياسة: محدودية استخدام القوة. الأمر الذي يعود الى أسباب عديدة لا مجال لتعدادها في هذا المجال…

وإنما لا بدّ من التذكير بأهمّها، ألا وهو عدم وجود ايّ نية حقيقية، لدى الرئيس الأميركي الحالي، في خوض حرب ضدّ إيران وحلفائها. علاوة على تخوّف الرئيس ترامب من تدحرج أيّ عمليات، حتى ولو كانت محدودة، ضدّ إيران إلى حرب شاملة، الأمر الذي لا قدرة للولايات المتحدة الأميركية على المغامرة به، إذ انّ مثل هكذا تطوّر سيحتاج الى نشر ما لا يقلّ عن 750 ألف جندي أميركي/ أطلسي في منطقة العمليات إيران والعراق وسورية ، بالإضافة الى قراءة الفاتحة على روح قاعدة واشنطن العسكرية في فلسطين المحتلة، «إسرائيل»، والتي ستزول عن الوجود خلال ساعات بدء الحرب الأولى.

إذن… فالولايات المتحدة لديها القوة العسكرية، المجمّدة او المشلولة او المغلولة الأيدي، بسبب ظروف الميدان السياسية والعسكرية. بينما تستند القيادة الإيرانية الى يد مطلقة في اتخاذ القرارت الحازمة والمبنية على الظروف الموضوعية المؤاتية أيضاً ما يجعل القارئ الموضوعي لمسرح العمليات، يخرج بنتيجة لا تقبل الشك ألا وهي:

انّ الطرف الأقوى في المواجهة سيكون بالتأكيد ذلك الطرف الذي تقاتل معه الجغرافيا والإرث الحضاري الإيراني، الأكبر والأعمق والذي يستند اليه الإمام السيد علي الخامنئي في قيادته للمعركة وفي قراراته وتوجيهاته للآلة السياسية والديبلوماسية والعسكرية في إيران، المتكئة الى فقه إسلامي ديناميكي ثوري أكثر عمقاً وزخماً من كلّ ما يمكن ان يتصوّره السياسيون التقليديون.

ثمة معادلة جديدة تتشكل في العمل السياسي الدولي تشي بحصول هزائم مدوية تنتظر الأميركيين وأذنابهم وانتصارات كبرى غير مسبوقة في المسرح الدولي لصالح إيران وحلفائها.

بعدنا طيّبين قولوا الله…

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WHAT MAKES IRAN STRONG ENOUGH TO STAND AGAINST A SUPERPOWER LIKE THE USA?

By Elijah J. Magnier: @ejmalrai

During the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s the Islamic Republic of Iran deployed the slogan “Karbala, Karbala we are coming” ( كربلا كربلا ما دارييم مياييم) to “defend the value of Islam”. In Syria the battle cry “Zeinab shall not be abducted twice” helped mobilise Shia allies and rally  thousands of men to fight the Sunni Takfiri of al-Qaeda and the “Islamic State” (ISIS).

Today, despite the existential battle between Iran and the US, the “Islamic Republic” no longer uses religious slogans, but is instead rallying support on a national basis. Even Iranians who disagree with the present regime are supporting their country in the face of the aggressive posture of the US. Iranian pragmatists were disappointed by the US’s unlawful revocation of the JCPOA nuclear deal. Severe sanctions are being imposed on the Iranian people because Trump ditched the deal to please Netanyahu and to spite his predecessor Obama. In the face of these sanctions, the Islamic Republic refuses to bow to US dictates. Unlike other Middle Eastern countries who willingly submit to Trump’s blackmail and bullying, Iran says “NO” to the superpower. Why? How can Iran do what Saudi Arabia and other regional powers could do but will not?

Iran manufactures its own tanksmissiles,submarines and is a member of the global club of nuclear science capable countries.

Iran has strong allies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan and Yemen and can rely on them to take part in any war imposed on Tehran, even one imposed by the US.

Iran has democratically elected members of the parliament and a President who serves a four-year mandate and has the right for a single term renewal if he wins via the ballot, unlike Arab states who have presidents for life or inherited monarchies. Christians and Jews are recognised minorities in Iran; the Jews have a member of the Parliament, Siamak Moreh, and feel “safe and respected”. They number around 15,000 out of 85 million Iranians and have more than 25 synagogues.

Iran has faced US sanctions for over 40 years without bowing to US demands. It has confronted the US in many arenas around the Middle East and recently shot down a drone to send the clear message that it is ready to face war and its consequences, if war is imposed on it. Iran is ready to pay the price of defending its air, water and lands; it will not compromise on any violations of its sovereignty even by a superpower like the US. Iran is sending a message to the US, its main ally Israel, and to all Middle Eastern countries: it will retaliate harshly against any aggression.

Iran is not afraid of regime-change attempts because its electoral system is in the hands of the people, and, if hit internally, Iran has the capacity to hit back anywhere its allies are deployed, against its regional enemies wherever they are deployed.

Iran’s situation should not be unique or surprising. It is natural to have democratic institutions. It is normal for a country to have allies ready to stand by and lend support when needed. It is ordinary for any country to use force, when needed, to defend its sovereignty and protect its borders. Citizens support their government and armed forces when they defend the country against aggression and when their rulers take tough and courageous decisions.

There are no voices in Iran calling for the fall of the current regime despite the US “maximum pressure”. The Iranian President responded with “maximum patience” for 14 months before taking the first legal step to partially withdraw from the nuclear deal. Rouhani then moved towards a “confrontational strategy” and has ended up adopting a “strategy of equal response” against any attack. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has no need of religious slogans this time because Iranians are united, regardless of ethnicity, behind their leaders and against the US. Trump has managed to unite the pragmatists and the radicals under one flag, against him.

Europe rushed to play a mediation role in a failed attempt to ease tensions between the US and Iran. European leaders have little leverage against President Trump because they are far from united, even if they are signatories of the JCPOA nuclear deal and are therefore bound to respect it. Iran imposed on Europe the devising of a new payment system, INSTEX, notwithstanding its lack of effectiveness. INSTEX shows the will of European leaders to accommodate Iran in order to stop its production of nuclear bombs. That is a substantial European effort.

Iran will not give up on its allies neither would they because they are at the forefront of its national security and the defenders of its values and existence. Without them a confrontational policy towards US hegemony would not be possible. The harsh sanctions on Iran have hurt its allies but have not deteriorated or even affected their military capabilities.

Iran will not give up on its missile capabilities because they are its only defensive mechanism and potential. Iran is ready to go to war; it will not abandon its missile production and development. It has delivered many of these missile capabilities to allies in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

Iran will not submit to the blackmail by which Trump extorts hundreds of billions of dollars from Middle Eastern countries by forcing them to buy US weapons and spare parts. Middle Eastern countries, like Saudi Arabia, the Emirates and Qatar, pay handsome ransoms to limit the damage of Trump’s bullying.

If all these Middle Eastern countries were to stand up against the “neighbourhood bully” as Iran has done, and invest a fraction of what they are paying Trump in the region’s development and prosperity, the US would be incapable of racketeering Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the Emirates.

And last but not least, Iran rejects the plan Trump is attempting to impose on the Palestinians: a demand that they sell their territories for a handful of dollars. Many Middle Eastern countries have adopted the childish plan of an amateur – Jared Kushner, who holds power only because he is the US President’s son-in-law – who believed he could achieve what many experienced presidents and diplomats failed to do over decades. Iran, together with Iraq, Lebanon and Kuwait, has rejected the “Deal of the Century”.

Trump admits that he understands only “the language of figures and money”. Iran’s response to the US blackmail strategy embodies the perception that this world only respects and understands those who manifest strength and refuse to submit to coercion, and its conscience is only awakened by those who have the will to resist.

Proofread by: C.G.B 

New scandal around empire of lies

By Mohammad Ghaderi

July 19, 2019

On Thursday, U.S. President Donald Trump, who is also the commander in chief of the country’s armed forces, falsely claimed that a U.S. warship had downed an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz.

Speaking at the White House, Trump said the USS Boxer shot down the drone after it got within 1,000 yards, “ignoring multiple calls to stand down and was threatening the safety of the ship and the ship’s crew.”

Also, the Pentagon announced the Iranian drone was within a “threatening range” of the Boxer.

“At approximately 10 a.m. local time, the amphibious ship USS Boxer was in international waters conducting a planned inbound transit of the Strait of Hormuz,” chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement.

The interesting point here is that even the Pentagon did not bother to confirm Trump’s hallucination regarding downing of an Iranian drone, since its statement does not at all refer to the owner of the drone.

But regarding Trump’s false claim, which is an intelligence disaster for a country which boasts of the biggest and most modern army in the world, a few points should be noted:

1- More than approximating reality, Trump’s false and hallucinatory claim of having downed an Iranian drone is rather indicative of the great shock the U.S. suffered after Iran’s Revolution Guards forces downed the Global Hawk spy drone recently, which has become a bitter nightmare for the U.S. president. America’s inability to provide answer in kind to the IRGC’s firm action has severely marred the image of U.S. military power.

This is to say that resort to such false claims by the White House depart to the public mind nothing but desperation.

2- It seems that for Trump to make such a false claim is in fact the indication of the onset of a new era of media and propaganda campaign against the Islamic Republic, with the hope to realize on the political and media arena what has not been achieved in field, thus concealing a deep degree of military powerlessness of the U.S.

Although Trump’s recent move shows how deeply the U.S. has been impressed by a psychological vibe surrounding the ever-increasing military power of Iran, in case the U.S. Army’s decision-making processes are based on such sort of information we should expect increasing risk of U.S. military presence as well as unexpected moves that should ensue.

What should be noted regarding Trump’s claim, is that according to statements by Iranian authorities, all Iranian drones in the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz, including the one mentioned by Trump, have returned home after their reconnaissance missions, and that the USS Boxer has been unable to engage in any sort of confrontation with the drone. This is why we should conclude that Trump has intended to take initiative and create a favorable media vibe for his administration.

3- Creating tension by resorting to false news making is a mechanism constantly tapped by the U.S. and its Western allies, which is especially used over the Persian Gulf with a number of objectives. One of the main objectives is to present Iran as a threat to other regional countries and those whose economy somehow depends on the security of the Persian Gulf. A great part of this hype is created especially to mild the backward Arab leaders, especially those of Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

4- The other noteworthy point is that based on the entire international rights, especially those concerning the rights governing seas, since a great part of the Persian Gulf waters are part of Iran’s territory, it is naturally Iran’s right to use whatever in its power to secure the region. This is while none of the international protocols allow U.S. presence in the Persian Gulf. This is why the White House, seeking help from its allies such as the UK, is trying to misrepresent the Persian Gulf as insecure, and thereby to justify its bullying presence in the region.
* Author: Mohammad Ghaderi , Tehran Times editor in chief and political commentator

His page on Twitter : @ghaderi62 – and Gmail address : m.ghaderi62@gmail.com

IRGC says captures British oil tanker in Strait of Hormuz

Press Tv

1

Fri Jul 19, 2019 05:59PM

Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has said that it has captured a British oil tanker for breaching international maritime law while crossing the Strait of Hormuz.

The IRGC’s Public Relations Department said in a statement on Friday that the vessel named “Stena Impero” had been confiscated “at the request of Hormozgan Ports and Maritime Organization when passing through the Strait of Hormuz, for failing to respect international maritime rules.”

The oil tanker was transferred to the coast to undergo the required legal proceedings, the statement added.

(This item is being updated.)

IRGC Navy Seizes British Tanker in Persian Gulf

IRGC Navy Seizes British Tanker in Persian Gulf

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) announced in a statement issued on Friday evening that its naval forces have seized British tanker ship, ‘Stena Impero’, for violating maritime rules and regulations in the Persian Gulf.

“UK tanker ship, Stena Impero, has been detained by the vessels unit of the IRGC Navy’s First Naval Zone at the request of the Ports and Maritime Organization’s office of Hormuzgan province for disregarding international maritime rules and regulations as it was passing through the Strait of Hormuz this afternoon,” the statement by the IRGCN public relations said.

The statement said the ship has been escorted to the Iranian coastal waters in Hormuzgan province and its control has been transferred to the Ports and Maritime Organization for further legal procedures and investigations.

A statement by Stena Impero shipping firm said there are 23 crew onboard the UK ship, adding that there has been no report on any harm or injury to the crew members since the vessel came under detention by the Iranian forces.

Media reports said the tanker was heading to Saudi Arabia’s port of Al-Jobail from the UAE port of Fujairah when it was detained by the IRGC.

Director-General of the Ports and Maritime Organization’s office in Hurmuzgan province said he filed a request for the seizure of the British tanker by the IRGCN after reports on its risky moves that made the vessel prone to accident.

Meantime, sources told FNA that “the British ship had switched off its tracking systems in violation of maritime rules and regulations and was making an entry from the exit point of the Strait of Hormuz in the South, disregarding the established procedures that require all entries be made through the Northern pass.

In early July, British marines and Gibraltar police seized an Iranian tanker off the Southern coast of the Iberian Peninsula. Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo claimed that the ship was transporting crude oil to Syria “in violation” of the EU sanctions placed on Damascus. Washington has applauded the move, hailing it as a sign that Europe is on board with the US’ unilateral sanctions against Iran.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry condemned the “illegal move” of London and described it as “tantamount to piracy”. Tehran accused the UK of doing Washington’s bidding and helping the US attempt to stifle the Islamic Republic’s oil exports, rejecting London’s claim that the supertanker was carrying crude for Syria.

The attorney general announced on Friday that Gibraltar’s supreme court has ruled that the Iranian tanker seized by Britain’s Royal Marines can be detained for 30 more days. The court’s decision came a day after a senior Gibraltar’s official described as “constructive” talks with Iran, raising hopes that the tanker would be released imminently.

Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei has slammed Britain’s illegal seizure of the oil tanker, warning London of a pending response to the seizure of the supertanker that he referred to as a case of “piracy”.

“They commit crimes and make it appear legal. The Islamic Republic and devout agents of the system will not leave such vicious acts without a response and they will respond in a proper opportunity and place,” Ayatollah Khamenei stressed.

On Thursday, naval forces of the IRGC seized a foreign ship smuggling fuel in the Persian Gulf, according to a statement by the public relations office of the IRGC Navy’s first zone. The foreign vessel was smuggling a million liters of fuel from Iran and was seized in Iranian waters South of Lark island.

Yet, a statement issued by the IRGC on Thursday denied that any other foreign ship had been seized during the last week as claimed by the western media.

The statement reiterated that the ship had been seized for “smuggling fuel from Iran”, and no other reason.

The recent moves by foreign powers in the Middle East such as US sanctions on Tehran’s oil, UK seizure of Iranian supertanker, as well as, “sabotage operations” on oil ships have intensified the turmoil in the region and the turmoil in the international energy market, affecting global crude prices in recent months.

 

IRAN SEIZES BRITISH TANKER IN STRAIT OF HORMUZ

South Front

19.07.2019

Iran Seizes British Tanker In Strait of Hormuz

Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) announced in the late hours of July 19 that its naval units had captured a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz.

The Guards said in a press release that the tanker, Stena Impero, was seized for breaching international maritime law while crossing the Strait of Hormuz.

حرس الثورة يعلن أن الناقلة البريطانية لم تراع قوانين الملاحة البحرية

Stena Impero’s operator Clyde-based Northern Marine Group (NMG) confirmed in an offical statement that the tanker was taken over by force. The group said that 23 seafarers were aboard the tanker when it was captured.

“At approximately 1600 BST on 19th July UK registered vessel Stena Impero (built 2018, 49,683 DWT) was approached by unidentified small crafts and a helicopter during transit of the Strait of Hormuz while the vessel was in international waters. We are presently unable to contact the vessel which is now heading north towards Iran,” the NMG’s statement reads.

In its first response to the Iranian move, the UK’s Ministry of Defence said that it is looking for further information on the incident.

Stena Impero was likely captured by the IRGC as a response to the UK seizure of Iran’s supertanker, Grace 1, off the shores of Gibraltar, earlier this month. Senior Iranian officials, including the country’s Supreme Leader, had warned the UK that Iran will not tolerate such moves.

More on this topic:

IRGC Releases Surveillance Footage in Rebutal to Trump’s Claim about Downing Iranian Drone

IRGC Releases Surveillance Footage in Rebutal to Trump’s Claim about Downing Iranian Drone

TEHRAN (FNA)– The Islamic Revolution Gauds Corps (IRGC) on Friday released the footage that has been recorded by its drone from the USS Boxer during a surveillance mission over the Strait of Hormuz in a move to counter the US president’s allegation that the American navy has downed the aircraft. [+VIDEO]

US President Donald Trump claimed on Thursday that the USS Boxer had fired on an Iranian drone on Thursday, shooting it down in the Strait of Hormuz.

“The Boxer took defensive action against an Iranian drone, which had closed into a near distance, approximately 1000 yards, ignoring multiple calls to stand down threatening safety of ship and ship’s crew,” he said at the White House.

The US president claimed that Iran’s drone “was immediately destroyed.”

Minutes later the Pentagon also issued a statement to confirm the report, but did not claim that the drone was Iranian.

The Pentagon claimed the Iranian drone was within a “threatening range” of the US ship.

“At approximately 10 am local time, the amphibious ship USS Boxer was in international waters conducting a planned inbound transit of the Strait of Hormuz,” chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement.

“A fixed wing unmanned aerial system (UAS) approached Boxer and closed within a threatening range. The ship took defensive action against the UAS to ensure the safety of the ship and its crew.”

The top military brass in Tehran rushed to deny the claim. Spokesman for the Iranian Armed Forces Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi said on Friday that Trump’s statement was absurd and baseless, stressing that the false claim about downing an Iranian Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) was intended to increase tensions in international waterways and disrupting security in the Strait of Hormuz.

“Unlike Trump’s delusional and groundless claim, all drones belonging to the Islamic Republic of Iran in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, including the one mentioned by the US president, have returned to their bases safe and sound after carrying out their scheduled surveillance and control operations,” the Armed Forces mouthpiece added.

“The Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran always feel duty-bound to protect, control, and safeguard the security of the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz with full vigilance while observing international regulations,” he added.

Hours later on Friday, the IRGC described the US president’s claim as “ridiculous”, and declared that it would release the footage collected by its drone from the US warship to prove the falsity of Washington’s claims.

“We will soon release the footage recorded by the IRGC Aerospace Force drone from the USS Boxer to expose Americans’ baseless claims to the public opinion of the world,” the public relations department of the IRGC announced today.

“The footage will show that the drone of the IRGC’s Aerospace Force was conducting its routine mission in the region before the arrival of the American vessel at the Strait of Hormuz,” read the communique, adding that the drone has sent footage of its “monitoring and surveilling the aforementioned ship both before and after the time that Americans claim”.

The statement added that after recording the footage from the US warship, the drone returned to its base intact.

“The marine and aerospace units of the IRGC vigilantly and continuously monitor the moves by the foreigners, particularly the terrorist forces of the US and the UK in the strategic region, based on their legal duties and for establishing security in the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf,” it added.

The IRGC reassured that with its complete intelligence dominance and preparedness, it will deliver a proportionate response to any act of aggression and violation of the international law.

http://en.farsnews.com/shares/swf/fvp.swf

The footage released by the IRGC has been recorded by the drone during a surveillance mission over the Strait of Hormuz over the USS Boxer.

IRGC Navy drones routinely fly over the strategic waterway of the Strait of Hormuz to ensure its security for free international maritime transportation.

The footage shows the trafficking of vessels through the Strait of Hurmuz before the arrival of the American warship and continues to cover the area after the US vessel moves forward and then keeps surveilling the USS Boxer.

The IRGC issued a statement after releasing the video on Friday evening, saying that the drone has been watching the USS Boxer and five other US warships accompanying it for three hours, from the time when they had not made an entry into the Strait of Hormuz to the time when exited the waterway.

“During this period, out drone bases have not observed and recorded any unconventional and threatening action by the US terrorist forces on the stated warship,” the IRGC statement reiterated.

“Hence, it is more evident and proved now that the claim raised by the US officials about the shooting down of an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz without any (supportive) evidence has been baseless and a lie,” it added.

The footage indicates that it has been recorded by the Iran-made drone, Mohajer-4, an unmanned aircraft  designed and manufactured for surveillance and reconnaissance missions, with the maximum speed of 200km/phr and flight durability of 7 hours.

The claim by the US president has been refuted by a range of Iranian officials since it was first raised by Donald Trump at a White House event on Thursday. Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araqchi said in a tweet, “We have not lost any drone in the Strait of Hormuz nor anywhere else.”

“I am worried that USS Boxer has shot down their own UAS by mistake!”, he said in sarcastic words.

The incident came almost a month after the IRGC shot down an intruding American spy drone in the country’s southern coastal province of Hormuzgan.

On Tuesday, Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Aerospace Force Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh said the shooting down of a US spy drone over Iranian territorial waters by the IRGC shattered the US military awe.

“The operation to shoot down the US drone in Iran’s sky was successful in every aspect. The operation shattered the awe of the world arrogant power (US) and displayed the rotten and cracked skeleton of the arrogant powers to everyone,” General Hajizadeh said in the Northeastern city of Mashhad on Tuesday.

He added that the different dimensions of the operation will come in light throughout time.

In relevant remarks on Monday, Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami underlined Armed Forces’ full preparedness to give a strong response to enemies, saying that downing of a US spy drone over Iran’s territories proved the country’s high capability to defend itself.

“Downing of the US advanced and expensive Global Hawk spy drone by Iran’s integrated air defense surprised foreign experts about the Islamic Republic of Iran’s military capability in defending the country’s borders and confronting the aggressors,” General Hatami said, addressing the Iranian parliamentarians in Tehran.

He underlined that all stages which led to the destruction of the spy drone, including detection, interception and destruction, were completed by using indigenized technology and military equipment, and said, “The Iranian Armed Forces are fully prepared to give a crushing response to any threat and stupidity by enemies and will make them regret their deeds.”

General Hatami stressed that the Iranian Armed Forces would powerfully continue enhancement of their defense power.

Also, last week, Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri warned of his country’s strong and painful response to any enemy offensive.

“Undoubtedly, a hard and crushing response will be waiting for those who intend to harm Iran and its borders’ security,” General Baqeri said during a visit to the country’s Northeastern bordering areas on Wednesday.

He added that the Iranian people, including the Shiites and the Sunnis, along with the country’s Armed Forces would foil any enemy plots against Iran’s sustainable security.

His remarks came after the IRGC Aerospace Force shot down an American spy drone over the territorial waters of Iran near the Strait of Hormuz at dawn on June 20.

Also, US President Donald Trump said the US air force was “cocked and loaded” to attack three Iranian targets a day later, but he called off the strike with 10 minutes to spare after being told that the airstrike might kill as many as 150 people.

Trump said in a series of tweets that he decided that the death toll was not a proportionate response to the Iranian shooting down of a US spy drone off the Iranian coast.

After Trump’s remarks, General Hajizadeh said that his forces could have shot down a US P8 aircraft with 35 on board which was violating Iran’s airspace, but decided to shoot down the drone to only send a message to Washington.

“We intended to send a message to American terrorists in the region,” Brigadier General Hajizadeh said, adding that his forces had also traced a military P8 aircraft violating the airspace of Iran.

“Along with the American drone was an American P8 aircraft with 35 on board, and it was also violating our airspace and we could have downed it too,” he said, adding, “But we did not do (shoot down) it, because our aim was to warn the terrorist forces of the US.”

General Hajizadeh also stressed that Iran was not after war but was fully ready to defend itself, adding that the fate of the downed US spy drone was waiting for any intruding flying object.

“Our response to anything trespassing Iranian territory is like this, and if such acts of aggression are repeated, our response will also be the same,” General Hajizadeh said.

“We don’t embrace war but we are ready to fully defend the country,” he said.

“We possess a collection of US drones which is a proof that US has violated Iran’s airspace and shows that they don’t want to respect the international law,” General Hajizadeh said.

“If such an aggression is repeated, we will add other US (military) products to complete this collection,” he noted.

“The US measure was in violation of international law and we acted according to our legitimate responsibility,” General Hajizadeh said, adding, “It is possible that a US general or some operators were behind this American aggression, we don’t know that. But that measure (intruding into Iranian airspace) is a violation of international aviation rules by a spy drone which then received our natural response.”

Also, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that his country had retrieved parts of the spy drone that was shot down from the country’s territorial waters, rejecting Washington’s claim that the aircraft was targeted in international waters.

“(The) US drone took off from UAE in stealth mode and violated Iranian airspace,” Zarif wrote on Twitter, adding that the drone “was targeted near… Kouh-e Mobarak” region in the Central district of Jask in Hormuzgan province after the aircraft violated Iran’s airspace.

Zarif even provided the coordinates where the US aircraft was intercepted, and added, “We’ve retrieved sections of the US military drone in OUR territorial waters where it was shot down.”

In an earlier tweet, Zarif stated that Iran “will take this US new aggression to (the) UN and show that the US is lying about international waters”.

The Iranian foreign minister noted that Tehran does not want war, “but will zealously defend our skies, land and waters”.

Meantime, IRGC Commander Major General Hossein Salami stressed that the move should alert Washington officials to stay away.

The incident sent “a clear message” to the US and other enemies that Iran will show a firm and crushing response to any aggression, Salami stated.

“Borders are our red lines and any enemy which violates them will not go back home and will be annihilated. The only way for enemies is to respect Iran’s territorial integrity and national interests,” the major general noted.

Also, earlier this month, General Salami said Iran’s military power and might had taken the military option off the table for the US, stating that the US was fearful of war against Iran.

“We have completely blocked the road to the enemies in the military field and we have reversed the balance. Under the current situation, it is the enemies who are concerned about war and this concern is displayed in their physical and tactical behavior,” General Salami said, addressing the commanders and personnel of Khatam al-Anbia base in Tehran.

He said the US exercised a similar offensive strategy in the political field first, but “eventually, they announced that they didn’t intend to go for a confrontation and called it a quit; in fact, this was a retreat to give them a chance to save themselves from a bottleneck they had created themselves.”

“Today, our global power is very well known and credited, and it includes an extraordinary deterrence capacity; we have managed to shatter the United States’ awe in the world public opinion” on the scene of action, General Salami said.

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