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.
INU - Human rights organisations have long been commenting on prison conditions in Iran. There are a huge number of political prisoners in the country and the conditions they are faced with are appalling.
At the beginning of the year, Amnesty International reported on Iran’s “year of shame” in which more than 7,000 people were arrested during the 2018 crackdown on dissent. It highlighted that the Iranian regime “carried out a shameless campaign of repression” last year in which protests were crushed and mass arrests were made.
The Trump administration has been subjecting the Iranian regime to a maximum pressure campaign for several months now. The aim is to restrict the regime’s belligerent activities and to cut it off from the funds it uses to finance terrorist groups and operations.
In its latest move, the United States has put tight travel restrictions on a number of Iranian diplomats and their families that live in New York.