Insider news & Analysis in Iran
Iran’s Apparent Seizure of a Commercial Ship Strengthens the Case for Naval Coalition

On Saturday, a commercial vessel effectively disappeared when passing through Iranian territory and was later confirmed as having been taken to port by Iranian authorities. The Panamanian vessel operating out of the United Arab Emirates was passing by Qeshm Island when it turned off its transponder. The island is home to multiple Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps bases, and this fact has no doubt contributed to the conclusion, by the US government and others, that the MT Riah was seized by the Islamic Republic as an act of retaliation against the pressure being exerted on its own oil exports.

Threat to British Tanker Underscore’s Iran’s Rejection of Western Diplomacy

On Thursday, there were two developments in the tensions between Iran and the West, which demonstrated the stark differences between the postures being maintained by each side. In the first place, the White House backed away, at least temporarily, from a previous threat of economi sanctions for Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. While this seemingly left the door wide open for the negotiations that President Donald Trump has long said he would undertake with no precondition, the Iranians turned away from that opening by attempting, albeit unsuccessfully, to follow through on a previous threat to seize a British tanker in the area of the Strait of Hormuz.

Iran Issues New Threats but Faces Growing Pressure After Breaching Nuclear Deal

Last week it was reported that Iran had officially violated the 2015 nuclear agreement by exceeding stockpiles of low-enriched uranium. Iranian officials followed up on that announcement with threats of further violations to come, and on Monday it was similarly confirmed that the regime had begun enriching nuclear material beyond the level of fissile purity established under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Singer’s Deportation Reflects Iran’s Dual Crackdown on Foreign Nationals and Women

On Friday, it was reported that the British Singer Joss Stone had been briefly detained by immigration and customs authorities, then deported from Iran after arriving via the airport on Kish Island. Stone’s visit to Iran was intended as the conclusion of a world tour that included stops at and performances in virtually every country on the globe. Prior to her aborted trip to Iran, she reportedly visited war-torn Yemen and was given permission to perform before a small audience in al-Mahra Province. But Stone had no advanced approval for a performance in Iran and was unlikely to receive it after arriving, in light of Iranian authorities’ hostility to both female authorities and persons with connections to the United Kingdom and the United States.

Seizure of Iranian Tanker Brings Forth Empty Threats, Weak Denials

On Friday, just one day after the British Royal Marines seized an Iranian oil tanker over violations of US and EU sanctions, a former commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps publicly advocated for attempting to capture a British tanker in retaliation. Mohsen Rezaei’s threat was just one example of the militarist rhetoric that has been emanating from Iranian hardliners in the midst of escalating tensions between Iran and the West. It also highlights Tehran’s efforts to portray itself as a victim of undue pressure, thereby justifying any action that the regime happens to take in the future.

United States and International Community Need to Support People of Iran to Pressure Malign Regime

The Iranian regime is becoming more and more belligerent as time goes on. Many presidents and administration officials over the past few decades have called for patience, saying that the regime would become more moderate, especially if concessions were granted. However, the time has finally come, at last, for the world to realise that the regime is completely incapable of becoming more moderate. In fact, its mere existence depends on the export of terror and fundamentalism.

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