By Mahmoud Hakamian
More than two weeks have passed since the Iranian regime’s piracy on British oil tankers. The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps initially claimed that the ship was impounded in accordance with the request of the Iranian Ports Organization for violating naval laws. But these ridiculous claims were immediately rejected by the regime’s officials themselves.
Law violation is not a weird phenomenon in the world. In fact, the law, the court, and the judiciary system have been set up to follow-up law violations. In this regard, if the British oil tanker broke a law, the case should continue during a judicial process.
But what happened in the Strait of Hormuz on July 19 is state-piracy and blackmailing, which is too rare a phenomenon in our era. Although the regime’s president, Hassan Rouhani, said, "Britain’s seizure of an Iranian oil tanker off Gibraltar was illegal and will be detrimental for Britain," (Reuters, July 28- 2019)
However, there is no news about an official proposal on behalf of the Iranian regime, but it seems that there is an idea of a tanker swap. In this context, on July 29, new British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told BBC radio, “There is no quid pro quo,” and explained that “This is not about some kind of barter. This is about the international law and the rules of the international legal system being upheld and that is what we will insist on.” (Reuters, July 29- 2019)
It is notable that since U.S. sanctions were reinstated, the regime has lost 85% of its crude oil revenue. Therefore, the mullahs forcefully pursue to raise oil prices through rising tensions and instability in the Middle East, such as mine attacks against oil tankers of UAE and Japan and seizure a British oil tanker.
But more ridiculously, the Iranian regime resorts to piracy to blackmail its European counterparts into the JCPOA negotiations. In this regard, the regime’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi, theorized that “Since Iran is entitled to export its oil according to the J.C.P.O.A., any impediment in the way of Iran’s export of oil is actually against the J.C.P.O.A.,” (New York Times, July 29- 2019)
It is worth reminding that on July 5, Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the regime’s Atomic Energy Organization, suddenly claimed that “Iran has enriched 24 metric tons of uranium since the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers,” (Washington Post, July 28- 2019). However, he didn't dare specify whether the regime already possess this amount or not, but it seems that the regime pursues to use this claim as a bargaining chip to compel Europeans to appease the mullahs over their nuclear adventurism and reduce economic pressures.
In fact, Iran’s ailing economy is the direct result of 40 years of systematic corruption and plundering of the Iranian people’s wealth. But recent economic pressures have pushed the regime in its entirety to the edge of the precipice. As we witnessed during protests in early 2018, which were sparked by economic grievances but immediately turned into the anti-regime uprisings that directly targeted Ali Khamenei, regime’s Supreme Leader, the regime knows more economic pressure means more protests and uprisings.
We should also consider the role of “Resistance Units” (the wide network of Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) supporters inside Iran), who organize and inspire the people to struggle for their rightful demands, and also herald a bright and prosperous future of Iran and the Iranian people, which will be achieved by bringing the religious fascism down.