Update: Iran’s motivations, spelled out.
If there were any doubts Iran is responsible for the attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, a new report should put those doubts to rest. The United States has video of Iran removing unexploded mines from the side of one of the ships that was hit.
The Iranian ship can be seen pulling alongside one of the tankers and removing what appears to be a limpet mine while believing they were not being watched. The video above, released by the United States Navy, shows the actions by the Iranians. The image below released by CentCom shows two areas, one where an exploded mine did damage and the other of a mine that apparently didn’t detonate.
There is little Iran can do or say now other than pretend like it wasn’t them in the video or that the video itself was doctored.
Iran must back down or face war
As my colleague noted earlier, Iran is using rumors of war as a way to draw international sympathy and bring world leaders to the negotiating table where they can try to shift sentiment to blame the United States. Iran is in dire straits with their economic situation but they have no intentions of backing down on their nuclear ambitions despite protestations against them.
They are playing with fire in more ways than one. As much as I’m against war of any kind, my inclinations to avoid any intervention by the United States military has a line drawn at the point of attacks on us or our allies. That’s what this is. They are trying to destabilize the world oil market and harm their competitors through terrorism. Perhaps they believe they can pressure the United States to lift sanctions. Maybe they think this is a way to get the world to force the United States to let them export their oil. At this point, their acts of desperation seem to be unprecedented, even for a regime that likes operating in the shadows and using proxies instead of getting their own hands dirty.
The increased United States presence in the Gulf region following the defection of Iranian Brigadier General Ali Nasiri seems to have forced Iran to change their plans. If they were hoping a proxy war alone would be enough to draw the United States into a mistake, Nasiri’s defection and the subsequent increase in our presence there changed those plans.
Acts of terrorism like this are unacceptable alternatives. They need to simply back down and come to the table with their nuclear ambitions completely abolished. At this point, it’s clear they cannot handle even monitored access to nuclear materials in any form or fashion.
The Iranian government and military are absolute cowards for going after civilians at sea. Moreover, destabilizing the oil market harms billions of people worldwide. Their shame is incalculable. At least it should be.
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