Iranian military forces thwarted a tanker seizure by American forces in the Sea of Oman. The incident may have political overtones weeks before the start of JCPOA negotiations.
Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps announced yesterday that it had prevented a US Navy effort to seize a tanker transporting its oil 10 days earlier. IRGC is the major section of the country’s military forces.
In a statement released on Wednesday, IRGC stated that US troops had committed an Iranian tanker seizure and “transferred its cargo to another tanker.” The statement further explains that Washington meant to send the full tanker to an unknown location while the interference by Iranian navy forces thwarted the plan.
The statement, published in IRGC’s official website, says the naval units secured the full tanker through the air, foiling another effort by the American warship to recover the tanker. It further noted that “The tanker carrying Iran’s oil docked at the port of Bandar Abbas on October 25.” The IRGC supported its claims by releasing a footage displaying its naval unit taking control of the tanker.
US Authorities, nevertheless, reject the Iranian reports claiming that the US Cruiser was only an observer to the incidents. They further said that the American naval force had no intention for intervention. A Pentagon spokesman also described the Iranian account completely inaccurate and wrong, adding that it was Iran that committed the tanker seizure attempt.
The US sources, however, failed to provide explanations for the footages released in IRGC accounts in social media. The footage shows that Iranian forced entered the second tanker through heliborne operations. Following that, a US cruiser’s attempt to approach the tanker was thwarted by Iranian speedboats.
Iran’s attempt to secure its oil cargo coincides the attempts to restart the negotiation process to revive the nuclear deal.
Tanker Seizure Controversy; Political Overtones
The semi-silent clash between Iranian and American Naval forces in the Sea of Oman, only revealed 10 days later, bare little chances of security escalations. The events, however, may have political significance if we take them as the military hands of a political agenda.
The IRGC disclosed the event of October 25 on the eve of the anniversary of US embassy seizure in Tehran back in 1979. Iranians celebrate the events annually as the day of the fight against ‘arrogance’ due to document concerning Washington’s espionage in Tehran.
The temporal concurrency cannot be accidental and have messages for western powers, the US in specific. Tehran is trying to prove its role as the strongest regional power with leverages outside the negotiation table.
Tanker seizure incidents occurs while attempts to resurrect the JCPOA with international powers are leading to achievements. Iran announced the start of new round of negotiation, November 29, on the same day. The curious concurrency of all these issues in one day may have one message; Iran’s decision to take part in the negotiations is not a sort of appeasement and Tehran preserves other alternatives.
Raisi administration also used the nuclear advancements, Uranium enrichment at high levels, as further leverage before starting the negotiations. Late last week, Western nations released a statement expressing serious alarm over Iran’s development of uranium on 60% enrichment level. Iran countered that the product satisfies medical needs and utilization as fuel in Tehran research reactor.
The US Tanker Seizure Attempt in the Oman Sea is not exceptional nor unprecedented. Washington’s attempts to impose economic blockade against Iran through oil sale control explains the action. Iran’s fierce response, however, clarifies the new administration’s approach in its relations with western powers; whether in negotiation table or the battle field.
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