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UK navy’s seizure of Iranian oil tanker reveals some facets of the regime’s nature

“Grace 1,” Iran’s supertanker seized by the UK in Gibraltar waters
“Grace 1,” Iran’s supertanker seized by the UK in Gibraltar waters

Analysis by PMOI/MEK


Iran, July 13, 2019 - On July 4, the British Royal Navy seized an Iranian oil tanker in Gibraltar waters, three days before Iran announced the implementation of the second step of decreasing its obligations under the 2015 nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). While the story is still developing and Iranian pundits close to the regime described the Royal Navy’s action as an additional step of the increased sanctions against the Islamic Republic, it revealed once again some facets of the ruling theocracy’s nature.

Following the incident, Iranian regime Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif labeled it as setting “dangerous precedent”, fearing that the remaining methods for Iran to smuggle crude oil will be shut down soon.

Qasem Mohebali, former general manager of the Iranian foreign ministry, said: “According to Spanish and British officials, the U.S. had asked for the tanker to be seized. This measure is an additional step towards increasing tensions between Iran and the U.S., and it’s somehow an increase in the limitations that the U.S. places on Iran’s oil sales.”

Hassan Bigi, a member of the Foreign Policy and Security Commission in the regime’s Majlis (parliament), blatantly threatened: “The perpetrators should expect the [Iranian] regime’s response.”

Revealing the terrorist nature of the Iranian regime and all its branches, Hassan Bigi added: “The National Security Commission will support any retaliatory action that the armed forces want to take and will swiftly approve any necessary law.”

On the same day, Iranian regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s mouthpiece, the Keyhan newspaper, dragged a number Iranian MPs into the scene to cover the political vacuum and silent the fear that has set down among regime supporters after the Gibraltar incident. However, the plot turned into a domestic smear campaign against the regime’s competing factions despite the objective of displaying unity and stability.

According to the Keyhan, Abulfazl Abutorabi, an Iranian MP from Isfahan province, claimed that the oil tanker disaster was the deed of some traitors in the oil ministry. He criticized the oil ministry for negligence and ignorance and added that currently, the danger of domestic traitors is much greater than the enemy. “Infiltrating some of the structures of the country with the goal of impacting vital sectors, such as economic institutions, has become in recent years far more professional and sophisticated,” he said.

“It is possible that some traitors have provided information to UK intelligence agencies regarding this oil tanker that was transporting our country’s oil,” Abutorabi added.

Mohammadreza Pour-Ebrahimi, another Majlis member, refers to Tehran’s weak position vis-à-vis the European Union. “The UK government’s measure resembles more than anything else that the Europeans approach towards the Islamic Republic of Iran regarding different issues, especially the JCPOA. It shows that their approach isn’t anything less than America’s measure of exiting the JCPOA,” he argued.

“Europeans have recently said threateningly that if Iran doesn’t abide by its obligations, they have no option but to treat Iran differently,” he continued.

Meanwhile, Pirouz Mojtahedzadeh, an Iranian political pundit, talks about the dangerous situation of the Iranian regime on different levels and warns Iranian officials. “Any emotional response can have harsh consequences for us. That the UK has shown behavior out of the international regime’s treaties isn’t a reason for us to ignore the [Iranian] regime’s interests and force costs upon the country with bad behavior,” he explained.

He then criticized the officials and authorities who commented on the Iranian oil tanker’s seizure in Gibraltar. “One of the major problems that have cost the country significantly until now is that everybody sees themselves obliged to talk about every incident and this is really damaging,” Mojtahedzadeh added.