Earlier this week, Iranian forces seized a Marshall Islands-flagged cargo ship, the Maersk Tigris, while it was traversing the Strait of Hormuz.
Iranian forces boarded the ship after firing warning shots across its bridge and diverted it to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas. Iranian officials have not explained why the ship was seized.
The Pentagon revealed subsequently that Iranian Revolutionary Guard Navy vessels surrounded a U.S.-flagged cargo ship, the Maersk Kensington, last Friday as it was transiting the Strait of Hormuz. No shots were fired, the Iranian vessels broke off contact, and the cargo ship proceeded without further incident.
Both actions by Iranian forces violated international agreements allowing for innocent passage of ships through the Strait of Hormuz.
Despite these serious Iranian provocations, the Obama administration is pushing ahead with a nuclear agreement with Iran that will lift crippling trade sanctions.
These are only the latest belligerent incidents by the Iranian government since the nuclear talks began in January 2014. Other incidents include:
- Iran has precipitated a civil war in Yemen by arming the Shiite Houthi rebels.
- Iran continues to hold four American citizens prisoner, including Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian who was charged last week with espionage and other serious crimes.
- Iranian leaders remain dedicated to the destruction of the United States and Israel. Last November, Supreme leader Khamenei released a nine-point plan to destroy the state of Israel. On March 21, the day after President Obama’s Persian New Year message to the Iranian people, Khamenei said “death to America.”
- In February, Iranian naval units destroyed a mock U.S. aircraft carrier as part of a military exercise.
- The Times of Israel reported this week that Iran is spending $35 billion a year to prop up Syrian President Assad.
- Iran continues to support the Hamas and Hezbollah terrorist groups. The Jerusalem Post reported this week that Hizbullah has constructed an airstrip in Lebanon for Iranian-made drones.
And now Iran is seizing and harassing ships on the high seas, including an U.S.-flagged ship.
It probably is not possible to stop President Obama from concluding a foolhardy nuclear agreement with Iran. However, the amendments to the Corker-Cardin bill clarify how dangerous this deal is and will identify members of Congress who helped facilitate it.
Fred Fleitz, a former CIA analyst, is on the Editorial Board at WorldTribune.com and Senior Vice President for Policy and Programs for the Center for Security Policy.
Full article: Iran shipping incidents in Strait of Hormuz are only latest belligerent acts since nuclear talks began (World Tribune)