Information operations · Information Warfare · Iran

Iran Escalation (45)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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More bluster, bluff, threats and overstatements by Tehran (some of it is priceless). UK starts forming “a European-led maritime protection mission to support safe passage.” More background on IRGC hijack of tanker. UK flagged vessels vacate Gulf. Gen McKenzie suggests USMC may have disabled more than one RPV. Background on China’s Zhuhai Zhenrong.

Many analyses and OpEds – at least a half dozen point out how foolish Tehran’s play has been in every respect – downright irrational. But should we expect anything else from a regime that squandered most of its material gains from the nuclear deal on propping up Assad and Yemen? And, as it appears, cheated on an overly generous deal to pay off their opening blackmail game?


Javad Zarif on Twitter: “The May govt’s seizure of Iranian oil at behest of US is piracy, pure &amp; simple. I congratulate my former counterpart, @BorisJohnson on becoming UK PM. Iran does not seek confrontation. But we have 1500 miles of

Persian Gulf coastline.These are our waters &amp; we will protect them https://t.co/svEqmEHQBM” / Twitter

Iran offers to swap oil tankers | News | The Times

Iran’s president today offered a deal to swap the British-flagged petrochemicals tanker it impounded in the Gulf last Friday for the Iranian oil tanker being held in Gibraltar.President Rouhani made the offer as officials in Tehran claimed Britain had sent a mediator to Iran to beg for the return of

Iran ends British Empire on the seas – Mehr News Agency

TEHRAN, Jul. 23 (MNA) – The reciprocal and powerful action of Iran was the end to the British Empire on the seas, said a senior Iranian commander referring to seizure of the British-flagged oil tanker in the Persian Gulf.

Iran vows to secure Strait of Hormuz – Middle East – Jerusalem Post

France, Italy, the Netherlands and Denmark support a European-led naval mission to ensure safe shipping through the Strait of Hormuz.

Drones watch every U.S. ship in the Persian Gulf, Iran’s navy chief claims – The Washington Post

Iran says it has “an immense archive of the day-to-day and even moment-to-moment movements of American forces.”

Iran observes all U.S. ships in Gulf region: Iran navy chief – Reuters

Iran observes all U.S. ships in the Gulf region and has an archive of images of their daily movements, the head of Iran’s navy, Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi, said on Tuesday, according to the Young Journalists Club news site.

Iran says it’s watching all US ships in Gulf, keeping record of their movements | The Times of Israel

Head of navy says drones tracking all ‘enemy’ vessels in the region, announces joint naval exercises with ‘allied countries’ in March 2020

World War 3: Iran warns of ‘endless war’ with West as Trump is ‘geared up’ | World | News | Express.co.uk

IRAN has threatened the West with “endless war” after Donald Trump revealed he is “ready for the absolute worst”.

Iran warns West against starting conflict, says not looking for confrontation – www.israelhayom.com

Iran’s Foreign Minister Zarif says Iran took measures against British-flagged oil tanker to implement international law, not retaliate for UK capture of Iranian tanker two weeks earlier. “Starting a conflict is easy, ending it would be impossible,” Zarif warns.

Iran Tells Boris Johnson It Doesn’t Want Confrontation, but Will Protect Itself – The New York Times

The comments came shortly after Boris Johnson won the contest to become Britain’s prime minister and days after Iran seized a British tanker.

Iran warns incoming British PM it will ‘protect’ Gulf waters | The Times of Israel

FM Zarif congratulates former counterpart Boris Johnson, says Islamic Republic not backing down from standoff in oil-rich Gulf

Iran rejects UK’s proposal for European-led maritime force | World news | The Guardian

Critics point to irony of UK calling on EU support while heading for Brexit

Iranian Commandos Showed ‘No Niceties’ When Seizing Ship in Strait of Hormuz – WSJ

The speed and ease with which Iran seized the Stena Impero, and another oil tanker that was released after several hours, demonstrates the wide latitude Tehran has to disrupt global trade as it fights against U.S. economic pressure.

Iran releases awkward video purporting to show seized British tanker crew cooking on board 3 days after they were captured | Business Insider

Iranian state media released an awkward video of what it says are the crew members of the Stena Impero, the British-flagged oil tanker that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps seized last Friday, making food and holding meetings on their ship.

Tom Rogan | Britain is revving up a European military response to Iran

Escalating against Iran, Britain’s foreign secretary on Monday announced that Britain will establish “a European-led maritime protection mission to support safe passage” of tankers transiting the Strait of Hormuz.

UK: Europe-led mission will protect vital shipping in Gulf

Britain’s European allies will play a major role keeping shipping lanes open. One-fifth of all global crude exports passes through the narrow strait between Iran and Oman.

Exclusive: Britain wins early European support for Hormuz naval mission – Reuters

France, Italy and Denmark gave initial support for a British plan for a European-led naval mission to ensure safe shipping through the Strait of Hormuz, proposed after Iran’s seizure of a British-flagged tanker, three senior EU diplomats said on Tuesday.

UK calls for EU naval task force help over seized tanker Gulf crisis – Mirror Online

Hunt calls for joint response from allies to protect ships in Gulf as Iran tensions mount

Europe-led mission will protect Gulf shipping after Iranian seizure of tanker, U.K. says – YouTube

CBC News: The National Published on Jul 22, 2019 Britain announced plans Monday to develop and deploy a Europe-led “maritime protection mission” to safeguard shipping in the vital Strait of Hormuz in light of Iran’s seizure of a British-flagged tanker in the waterway last week.

Hunt siding with Europe over the US in the Gulf makes practical sense | World news | The Guardian

Defence secretary’s decision may seem puzzling but is in Britain’s best interests

UK fears Iran-backed terrorists could attack Europe in case of escalation – Middle East – Jerusalem Post

Intelligence agencies believe that Iran has organized and funded sleeper terrorist cells throughout Europe, including the UK.

Iran tanker hijack: Britain urged to use ‘ultimate force’ – Daily Star

BRITS are demanding special forces storm the UK oil tanker hijacked by Iran.

British negotiators rushed to Iran to free oil tanker crew – Daily Star

BRIT negotiators have been rushed to Iran after an oil tanker was seized in the Strait of Hormuz

Stena Bulk says spoke to seized tanker’s crew, all are safe and well

All 23 crew on a British-flagged tanker seized last week by Iran in the Strait of Hormuz are safe and well, the vessel's Swedish operator Stena Bulk said on Wednesday after speaking to them. Iran said on Saturday it had seized the Stena Impero because it had collided with a fishing boat. Stena

U.K. Oil Tankers Flee Persian Gulf as Tensions Rise Over Hormuz – Bloomberg

Two weeks ago there were six British-flagged oil tankers in the Persian Gulf going about their business. A week later there were none. Iran’s threat to seize a British ship in retaliation for the arrest of the Grace 1 off Gibraltar has effectively closed the world’s most prolific oil region to U.K. carriers.

Iran news: China the REAL winner as Britain’s tanker row ‘sends trade to Beijing’ | World | News | Express.co.uk

CHINA is set to emerge as the surprise winners of the standoff between Iran and Britain in the Strait of Hormuz as oil shippers continue to fear conflict in the region.

Panicking British shipping firms are switching Union Jacks for Chinese flags amid fears Iran will seize MORE vessels – The Sun

BRITISH shipping firms are preparing to stop flying the Union Jack in favour of the Chinese flag amid fears Iran will continue seizing more UK vessels, it has been claimed. The seizure by Iran of the British-flagged Stena Impero on Friday is said to have moved major shipping firms to look for alternative flags less likely to be targeted.

Satellite images show Brit oil tanker seized by Iran being circled by speedboat guard as it idles in Strait of Hormuz

STARTLING aerial photos of the British-flagged oil tanker seized by Tehran’s troops have emerged showing it being circled by a military speedboat. The images show the stricken Stena Impero next to the Iranian port town of Bandar Abbas after it was dramatically seized in the Strait of Hormuz.

U.S.-Iran: Trump doesn’t rule out talks with Iran amid increasing tensions – CBS News

Iran is alleging 17 Iranian nationals were sharing sensitive information with American handlers

U.S. Warship ‘May Have’ Brought Down A 2nd Iranian Drone, General Says : NPR

“We are confident we brought down one drone; we may have brought down a second,” CENTCOM Commander Gen. Kenneth McKenzie said on Tuesday during an interview with CBS News.

US military took defensive action against second Iranian drone last week | News | GMA News Online

A US Navy ship took defensive action against a second Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz last week, but did not see the drone go into the water, the US military said on Tuesday. Current top breaking Philippine headlines regarding the nation, world, metro manila, regions and exclusive special investigative reports.

US ‘may have brought down’ two Iranian drones last week

A U.S. warship that President Trump said “destroyed” an Iranian drone last week might have actually downed a second one, according to the commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East.

Marines Might Have Brought Down Multiple Iranian Drones from Navy Ship, 4-Star Says | Military.com

Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, said a second drone is believed to have been taken out by Marines.

This Is the ATV-Mounted Jammer That Took Down an Iranian Drone

The drone was less than a mile from the USS Boxer when the Marines caused it to crash.

Strange Economics of Mideast Oil Shield Trump From Iran’s Bite – Bloomberg

Heightened tension in the Gulf hasn’t caused crude prices to spike dramatically. Here’s why the numbers are stacked against Iranian disruption.

The Mysterious China State Oil Trader Hit by U.S. Sanctions – Bloomberg

The Chinese state-owned oil trading company sanctioned by the White House for violating restrictions on Iranian crude keeps a low profile.

Zhuhai Zhenrong: Chinese oil company sanctioned by the US for buying Iranian crude – CNN

The United States has slapped sanctions on a Chinese company for importing Iranian crude in violation of US restrictions on Iran’s oil industry.

Decaying tanker near Yemeni coast threatens ‘catastrophic explosion’ – CNN

An abandoned tanker loaded with oil is threatening a major environmental disaster near the coast of Yemen, the United Nations has said, amid expert warnings of a “catastrophic” explosion.

Deserted oil tanker in Red Sea could EXPLODE and dump one million barrels of oil into ocean, experts warn

THE vessel, named Safer, has been abandoned off the coast of Yemen since March 2015 when Houthi rebels took over the area. Yemen has been crippled by a fractious civil war following the Iran-backed Houthi uprising that swept the pro-Western government into exile in 2015.

The Editors | Why Iran Wants to Get Bombed | National Review

The regime’s aggressions are an attempt to find a way out of the economic punishment that our sanctions have inflicted. …….. It is quite possible that Iran considers its provocations a prelude to another nuclear negotiation. For his part, Trump continues to dangle the prospects of talks, even blessing diplomatic outreach by Senator Rand Paul. But the regime has a strong incentive to try to wait Trump out and hope the election of a pro-deal Democrat delivers what it wants without any more trouble. Perhaps the Iranians believe that Trump getting embroiled in a conflict advances that goal. Regardless, they obviously want to escape from the box that they are in, and Trump shouldn’t let them.

Iran Is Acting Like the International Villain of Trump’s Prophecy – Defense One

Any number of relatively mundane scenarios now have the potential to escalate U.S.-Iran tensions—from a fire at a militia base to the seizure of an oil …

Iran Is Acting Like the International Villain of Trump’s Prophecy

Any number of relatively mundane scenarios now have the potential to escalate U.S.-Iran tensions—from a fire at a militia base to the seizure of an oil tanker to the signal-jamming of a drone.

Iran’s Seizure Of A British Tanker Is A Strategic Mistake

Iran’s decision to seize a British oil tanker might have given its rulers a short-term propaganda victory, but it may end up costing the country dearly in the long-term.

Iran’s Oil Tanker Gambit Has Nowhere to Go – Bloomberg

Instead of intimidating the world, Tehran has merely irritated it.

The U.S. flexes its military muscle — and restraint — in the Persian Gulf – The Washington Post

The military has adopted a low-key strategy in a potentially explosive showdown with Iran.

Iran strike? Donald Trump is reluctant despite history of threats

Donald Trump often says he is willing to use force against Iran, but allies and aides say it would take an exceptional provocation for him to act.

Iran: what the law of the sea says about detaining foreign ships in transit

An international maritime lawyer explains whether Iran broke the law of the sea by detaining the Stena Impero.

Will Boris Johnson Take a Tougher Stance on Iran? | The National Interest

Britain remains wary of Iran’s escalatory tactics, which could easily spiral into a war.

Understanding the UK’s passive Iran policy – Opinion – Jerusalem Post

Anytime MPs ask this question, ministers have repeated the same words, and sadly Nazanin’s situation has deteriorated.

How Britain can end the Iran tanker crisis | Middle East Eye

London should not appease Trump’s Iran hawks and safeguard its own vital interests by reaching a timely compromise with Iran on the tanker dispute

Iran crisis: A tale of two tankers – BBC News – YouTube

BBC News Published on Jul 23, 2019 When Iran seized a British-flagged tanker on Friday, it might have felt like a surprise move. But it wasn’t. It was the latest in a string of events that have led to the escalating tensions between the US, UK and Iran. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard captured the Stena Impero and its 23 crew members in the Gulf on Friday. Tehran says the vessel had violated international maritime rules, but the UK says it was illegally seized in Omani waters and forced to sail to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas. Iranian state media has released images of crew members on the vessel. The BBC’s Paul Adams explains.

Did John Bolton Light the Fuse of the UK-Iranian Tanker Crisis? | The American Conservative

Evidence suggests he pressured the Brits to seize an Iranian ship. Why? More war.

David Petraeus warns about Iran situation, says Trump policy not clear

Petraeus also said during an interview on CNBC’s “Halftime Report” that it is “not clear what” the Trump administration’s “policy is in the Middle East regarding Iran’s nuclear program.”

By punishing Iran, Trump risks a full-scale war between our two countries | Mohammad Khatami | Opinion | The Guardian

The US president should resist the pressure from advisers and de-escalate explosive tensions in the Persian Gulf, says Mohammad Khatami, former president of Iran

How Iran Sees Its Standoff With the United States

Washington’s reversal on the nuclear deal has turned Iranian citizens’ distrust on the United States and presented Iranian officials with stark, unwanted choices.

What It’s Like to Steer a Giant Tanker Through the Strait of Hormuz – Bloomberg

A firsthand account from a captain navigating the perilous waters of the Persian Gulf as U.S.-Iran tensions rise.

FDD: Burning Bridge: The Iranian Land Corridor to the Mediterranean – To Inform is to Influence

June 18, 2019 | Report https://www.fdd.org/analysis/2019/06/18/burning-bridge/ David Adesnik, Director of Research LTG (Ret.) H.R. McMaster, CMPP Chairman Behnam Ben Taleblu, Senior Fellow Foreword By LTG (Ret.) H.R. McMaster Chairman, FDD’s Center on Military and Political Power Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution In “Burning Bridge: The Iranian Land Corridor to the Mediterranean,” David Adesnik and Behnam Ben Taleblu shed fresh…