Don’t reward Iranian violence by ending economic sanctions, by daily editorial
To quote the official US Navy announcement, on May 6, the cruiser USS Monterey “seized an illicit arms shipment from a stateless dhow in the international waters of the North Arabian Sea.” The list of weapons on board the dhow included advanced Russian-made anti-tank missiles, approximately 3,000 Chinese assault rifles, several hundred light machine guns, sniper rifles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers, and “advanced optical sights. “.
On a battlefield, these weapons could arm a light infantry brigade of 4,000 soldiers – or guerrillas.
“Stateless” is diplomatic speech indicating that the dhow had no flag or other sign of national origin. This suggests that the dhow crew did not have valid cargo papers to show the U.S. Coast Guard Forward Interdiction Team inspecting their vessel. When USN warships enter sea lanes used by smugglers and pirates, they often have a Coast Guard team on board with legal authority to deal with transnational criminal operations.
Smugglers roam the northern Arabian Sea (an arm of the Indian Ocean), carrying narcotics, stolen electronics, even Persian rugs. But smuggling a calculated weapon mix as the USN seized?
Iranian dictators cry out plausible denial, but their corrupt state has planned, assembled and shipped the weapons.
Why? The junta is inherently violent. It has been on the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism since 1984. Iranian intelligence agents and special forces officers direct or finance violent “interference operations” in at least 30 different countries while recovering the money from drug trafficking and human trafficking.
The dhow, however, carried a cargo of war.
Currently, the regime is waging four proxy wars: 1) in neighboring Iraq, 2) in miserable Syria, 3) in Lebanon, and 4) in chaotic Yemen.
Cross Lebanon and Syria, the dhow will have to pass through the Suez Canal. Iraq and Iran share a land border; that trucks smuggle weapons.
The destination of the dhow was Yemen, a beach in the Indian Ocean or a small port in the Red Sea.
For decades, the Iranian dictatorship sowed violence in Yemen. For more than 15 years, he has armed and funded Yemen’s main rebel group, the Houthis. Yemen is giving Iran a second front in its slow war with Saudi Arabia. Iran is providing its Houthi proxies with armed drones and ballistic missiles, which the Houthis use to attack Saudi Arabia.
The Al Quds Force is the elite arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The Quds Force controls Iran’s international covert and proxy warfare operations and oversees ballistic missile units.
StrategyPage.com (full disclosure: I’m an editor) recently published a report claiming that Iran’s decision in late 2020 to make a Quds Force general its ambassador to Yemen indicates that Tehran is “now giving the orders “to the Yemeni rebels. Quds Force officers “oversee Iranian support for combat operations and play a more direct role in the conduct of the war.” The report links the Iranian leadership of the war in Yemen to the “negotiations to end economic sanctions against Iran” underway in Europe.
The negotiations would also revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the ostentatious name of President Obama’s former administration over its Iran nuclear deal.
My guess: The seized weapons were sent to bolster the Houthi forces for a new offensive scheduled to affect these ongoing negotiations. Iran’s offer at the start of the Houthi offensive: We will cool the war if you give us money.
On May 10, armed speedboats of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy simulated percussion attacks on US ships in the Strait of Hormuz. The Maui Coast Guard had to fire warning shots to disperse the “swarm”. Small swarming boats attempt to cause collisions between large ships. The American flotilla included the USS Monterey.
Refund or coincidence? For years, Iran has simulated swarm attacks in Hormuz. War, terror and crime are what the Iranian dictatorship does.
Obama’s JCPOA has never interrupted Iran’s nuclear weapons program. He did not sanction the violent interference and criminal operations of the Iranian regime. Ending economic sanctions will only give the mullahs more money to spend on proxy wars like the one in Yemen. The revival of the JCPOA will give the regime the bomb. To believe otherwise is an illusion.
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