Written by – Elijah J. Magnier:
After two years of precarious calm, the “Tanker War” has reappeared in the international arena. Iran faced the US through its European ally acting as a proxy, Greece, which was pushed against Tehran. However, the confrontation this time is different because the Iranian message is not limited to seizing one or two oil tankers but is also a response to the nuclear file, raising the level of tension to a higher level in which matters may escalate more than they appear if the US escalates.
On April 19, Greece seized the Russian oil tanker “Pegas” off the island of Evia to change its name to “Aframax Lana,” coinciding with the Iranian announcement that the ship belongs to the “Islamic Republic of Iran,” despite remaining under the Russian flag. According to what the Greek authorities announced, the tanker, carrying 115,000 tons of Iranian oil, was seized at the US’s request. Its oil contents were transferred to another ship carrying the flag of Liberia to be delivered to the US ports in the act not far short of international piracy.
Iran considered this act a violation of international law. Indeed, no judicial authority has the right to confiscate a tanker’s oil cargo and give it to another country under any pretext or political pressure, even from a superpower like the US. These acts indicate once more the tendency of powerful nations to no longer respect international laws.
The Iranian response didn’t wait: the Iranian Revolutionary Guards seized two Greek oil tankers, “Delta Poseidon” (with a crew of 25 men) and “Prudent Warrior” (with a crew of 24 Greeks and Filipinos), which were loaded with Iraqi oil from Basra. This raised oil prices to $119, increasing the global economic burden and disturbing the already turbulent markets due to the Western sanctions against Russia and the thirst for gas and oil following the war in Ukraine.
The two Greek oil tankers were approached by Iranian helicopters, boarded by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) forces, and forced to anchor 11 miles off the Iranian coast. The selection of the two oil tankers was far from a coincidence: the oil cargo was due to be delivered to the US. Iran accepted Washington’s challenge and showed no fear of hitting back at both Greece and (mainly) the US. It further indicates that Iran considers European nations as submitted to the US dictate: the real battle is with Washington, not any other European country.
That begs questions: The World is familiar with Iran’s powerful method when in July 2019, the British-flagged tanker “Stena Impero” was stopped after Britain intercepted an Iranian tanker off the coast of Gibraltar. Therefore, the question is: what is behind the mutual piracy of oil tankers?
Negotiations related to the nuclear file have ended in Vienna. There are no longer any issues to discuss except the US political decision to remove the IRGC’s name and institutions from terrorism’s list. This is what the US is resisting applying (not quickly), as some of its officials leaked to the media that Iran cannot impose conditions that are not related to the nuclear file. The US considers the IRGC should not be removed from the list of terrorism because of its increasing capabilities and support of Iran’s allies which is incompatible with the US and Israel’s interests. The US is pretending to ignore that the IRGC represents the state and that most of its civilian and military institutions are run by its leadership.
This US leak was followed by a statement by US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, who
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Proofread by: Maurice Brasher