The U.S. and Its Allies Have a Role to Play in Ending Iran’s Maritime War

Aug. 11 2021

In the past two weeks, the Islamic Republic has thrice attacked its enemies at sea, posing a danger to global commerce. Farzin Nadimi explains:

On August 4, personnel from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) boarded the Emirati bitumen tanker Asphalt Princess in international waters near Fujairah and tried to divert it into Iranian waters. The crew managed to foil their plan by disabling the ship, and the boarding party left when a U.S. Navy destroyer approached.

The incident came just five days after a suspected Iranian suicide drone crashed into the Israeli-operated oil tanker Mercer Street near the Omani port of Duqm. Following an unsuccessful attack on July 29, a drone ripped through the ship’s accommodation area on July 30, killing the Romanian captain and a British security guard. Although maritime confrontations involving Iran, Israel, and the Gulf states have been occurring for years, the nature of the latest incidents highlights the urgent need for collective international action.

In the 1980s, Nadimi notes, Tehran similarly threatened international commerce, attacking tankers belonging to nations that had provided support for Baghdad in the ongoing Iran-Iraq War. Countries that have an interest in protecting the freedom of navigation on the high seas have a lesson to learn from those days:

[Then], the initial U.S., French, and British response—expanding their naval presence in the Gulf region—failed to deter Tehran from targeting ships of all flags. Only after the United States increased its show of military resolve and took bold initiative in using special-warfare tactics did Iran back down.

Indeed, international naval forces already exist that can be used to get the ayatollahs to stand down.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Naval strategy, U.S. Foreign policy, United Arab Emirates


Israel’s Covert War on Iran’s Nuclear Program Is Impressive. But Is It Successful?

Sept. 26 2023

The Mossad’s heist of a vast Iranian nuclear archive in 2018 provided abundant evidence that Tehran was not adhering to its commitments; it also provided an enormous amount of actionable intelligence. Two years later, Israel responded to international inspectors’ condemnation of the Islamic Republic’s violations by using this intelligence to launch a spectacular campaign of sabotage—a campaign that is the subject of Target Tehran, by Yonah Jeremy Bob and Ilan Evyatar. David Adesnik writes:

The question that remains open at the conclusion of Target Tehran is whether the Mossad’s tactical wizardry adds up to strategic success in the shadow war with Iran. The authors give a very respectful hearing to skeptics—such as the former Mossad director Tamir Pardo—who believe the country should have embraced the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. Bob and Evyatar reject that position, arguing that covert action has proven itself the best way to slow down the nuclear program. They acknowledge, however, that the clerical regime remains fully determined to reach the nuclear threshold. “The Mossad’s secret war, in other words, is not over. Indeed, it may never end,” they write.

Which brings us back to Joe Biden. The clerical regime was headed over a financial cliff when Biden took office, thanks to the reimposition of sanctions after Washington withdrew from the nuclear deal. The billions flowing into Iran on Biden’s watch have made it that much easier for the regime to rebuild whatever Mossad destroys in addition to weathering nationwide protests on behalf of women, life, and freedom. Until Washington and Jerusalem get on the same page—and stay there—Tehran’s nuclear ambitions will remain an affordable luxury for a dictatorship at war with its citizens.

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, Mossad, U.S. Foreign policy