• Latest Iranian Hostilities Underscore: Civilized Nations Must Keep the Pressure On

    Another day, another reminder the Islamic Republic of Iran is a problem that must be addressed firmly, even forcefully by the “good guys”.

    The UK Sun’s Neal Baker reports:

    A ROYAL Navy frigate was forced to train its weapons on three Iranian boats that tried to seize a British oil tanker off Iran yesterday.

    Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard tried to take control of the vessel as it passed through the Strait of Hormuz – sparking a tense standoff in the Persian Gulf, US officials revealed –supplying a clue that the extremist Shiite regime is up to no good in general, and likely ought not be trusted.

    The HMS Montrose, which had been deployed in the Gulf to perform a “maritime security role”, was escorting a BP-operated British Heritage oil tanker through the flashpoint region when it was forced to react, training its 30mm deck guns on the enemy boats and warning them off, it was claimed

    Sky News has also confirmed the warship additionally deployed its Wildcat helicopter to circle the Iranian boats in an attempt to scare them off – all this in an environment of simmering tensions between Iran and the West.

    Tensions have been on the rise between Iran and the West since the Islamic Republic last week announced it was upping its uranium enrichment programme.

    Tehran has openly declared it’s plans to increase its production beyond the limits imposed by the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal. The United States walked away from the agreement earlier this year.

    US President Donald Trump said the deal had been too soft – but it was still supported by other western backers including the UK. …

    Trump is manifestly correct in his assessment – the UK, et al? Sadly, not.

    According to … anonymous officials, the Montrose came up from the rear of the tanker and aimed its weapons at the Iranians — before issuing a verbal warning to get away. …

    An official insists: “It was harassment and an attempt to interfere with the passage.”

    The attempted capture was captured on video footage by a US aircraft flying overhead and comes just days after British Royal Marines seized an Iranian crude oil supertanker off Gibraltar.

    Commandos dramatically detained the Grace 1 tanker over suspicions it was carrying oil to its ally Syria in violation of EU sanctions last week.

    More Iranian perfidy. Anyone detecting a troubling pattern here? These minatory gestures are becoming SOP with this Ayatollah-dominated bunch.

    Iran later issued a chilling threat of retaliation for last Thursday’s daring raid.

    President Hassan Rouhani growled on Wednesday:

    “I tell the British that they are the initiator of insecurity and you will understand its consequences later.”

    Iran’s Major General Mohammad Bagheri promised the seizure of the Grace 1 “will not go unanswered”.

    According to Tasnim news agency, Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi, a deputy Guards commander, said that Britain and the United States will regret detaining the oil tanker.

    “Now an action that does not need ability but some stupidity has been carried out by them. … The American government, and also England, should not have taken action if they had made the smallest calculation,” he said. …We had rented this ship and we carried the cargo. Their action was very silly and they will certainly regret it. Our reciprocal action will be announced.”

    A UK Government spokesman specified:

    “Contrary to international law, three Iranian vessels attempted to impede the passage of a commercial vessel, British Heritage, through the Strait of Hormuz. … HMS Montrose was forced to position herself between the Iranian vessels and British Heritage and issue verbal warnings to the Iranian vessels, which then turned away. … We are concerned by this action and continue to urge the Iranian authorities to de-escalate the situation in the region.

    Iran went on to accuse “weak” Britain of aiming to inflame regional tensions by lying about the episode.

    Tehran’s foreign minister Mohammad Jawad Zarif said “England” was attempting to “cover their weakness ” and slammed America for engaging in what he labeled “economic terrorism” — a reference to punishing sanctions imposed on Tehran by Washington.

    Responding to the incident, US Central Command spokesman Cpt. Bill Urban emphasized:

    “Threats to international freedom of navigation require an international solution. … The world economy depends on the free flow of commerce, and it is incumbent on all nations to protect and preserve this linchpin of global prosperity.”

    The United States, Europe, the West – nations wanting to peaceably go about their business – cannot be held hostage to Iran’s menacings. Safety and freedom to engage in global commerce are vital to their survival and functioning — and are at stake in this Iranian matter.

    When the Western Asian land of the mullahs threatens to undermine those realities, it ought to be, it must be, slapped down by those countries taking exception.

    Image: Creative Commons; CC By-SA 2.0; https://www.flickr.com/photos/defenceimages/8097398917

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