Information operations · Information Warfare · Iran

Iran Escalation (47)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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More toxic invective from Tehran, the style gets more like Muscovy by the day. Iran IRBM test still reverberating in the media. UK initiates escort operations in Gulf, using the HMS Montrose F236 and HMS Duncan D37.

Media are extremely active expounding on political discord between the US, UK and Europe. How much of this is real and how much contrived to support a narrative is an excellent question. However it is clear Germany is not happy about supporting a naval operation in the Gulf (and would be challenged to usefully contribute). Most curious are reported statements in Iranian media claimed to be by the UK ambassador in Tehran, which if true were ill considered politically

Editorial commentary appears for the most part firmly polarised along Western political lines. Some of the commentary borders on the bizarre, such as proposals to incorporate Russia into the maritime patrol force, evidently so they can warn the IRGC and otherwise sabotage the effort. Iran, like Russia, has many proxies in the Western media.


U.S. and U.K. divide increases on Iran | TheHill

Britain’s refusal to go along with the Trump administration’s fiery approach to recent Iranian aggression has experts and lawmakers concerned about the state of the “special relationship” between two historically close allies.

UK Says Iran Must Be Allowed to Sell Its Oil

The United Kingdom’s Ambassador to Tehran Rob Macaire says the Islamic Republic must be allowed to sell its crude oil despite the US sanctions, and London supports the country in doing that.

Iran should sell its oil: British ambassador – Tehran Times

TEHRAN – British Ambassador to Tehran Robert Macaire has said that Iran should sell its oil and Britain supports legitimate trade of Iran’s oil.

Iran crisis: Now Germany threatens to torpedo European alliance | World | News | Express.co.uk

GERMANY has threatened to abandon support for European-allies including Britain in Iran following a sudden change in policy.

Europeans stall on mission to protect tankers in Gulf after Raab calls for joint patrols with US

Divisions have emerged over plans for a European naval mission in the Persian Gulf, with Britain suggesting the operation would need US support while France and Germany insist it stay independent of America.

Berlin Brushes Aside US ‘Maximum Pressure’ Plan for Iran, Demands European Approach to Gulf Op – Sputnik International

Following incidents involving commercial vessels near the Strait of Hormuz, Washington has invited its allies to take part in a mission in the region to protect freedom of navigation there together. Germany, however, seems more open to a similar plan proposed by the UK.

Deploying joint European fleet to Persian Gulf sends ‘hostile message’ – Tehran — RT World News

As Tehran and London are locked in a row over tanker seizures, Britain’s proposal to send an EU naval mission to the Persian Gulf will only increase the ongoing tensions, an Iranian government spokesperson warned.

Iran crisis: Britain could ask Russia and china for help as tensions rocket in Gulf | World | News | Express.co.uk

BORIS Johnson was last night under mounting pressure to invite China and Russia to join the European-led maritime coalition to safeguard tankers from Iranian attacks.

Iran Warns Against Any Attempt to ‘Disrupt Order’ With Persian Gulf Patrols

The guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay transits the Strait of Hormuz in April. (Photo: U.S. Navy/Petty Officer 3rd Class Connor Loessin)

Iran says European fleet in Gulf would be ‘provocative’

Iran on Sunday slammed as &quot;provocative&quot; a British proposal for a European-led naval mission to escort tankers in the Gulf, amid soaring tensions over the seizure of ships. &quot;We heard that they intend to send a European fleet to the Persian Gulf which naturally carries a hostile message

Iran Slams UK Proposal for European Naval Mission in Gulf as ‘Hostile’

Iran on Sunday slammed as “hostile” a UK push for a European-led naval mission to escort tankers transiting the Strait of Hormuz.

British Detention of Iranian Oil Tanker Reeks of ‘Colonial Times’, Top Cleric Says – Sputnik International

UK authorities in Gibraltar seized Iran’s Grace 1 oil tanker and detained some members of its crew on 4 July over suspicions that it was circumventing EU sanctions against Syria. Tehran denies these allegations and has slammed London for endangering freedom of navigation.

US building coalition to protect ships crossing Persian Gulf | Fox News

The State Department said it’s “very supportive” of a European initiative to safeguard ships in the Strait of Hormuz, even as the United States pursues its own operation to secure the narrow waterway.

World powers rally to US call to tackle Iran threat to Gulf shipping – The National

US Central Command hosts meeting of allies as Washington seeks partners for proposed protection force in the Strait of Hormuz

Iran Poses Challenge to U.S. With New Ballistic-Missile Test – WSJ

Iran test-fired a medium-range ballistic missile this week, U.S. officials said, taking another step that has increased tensions between Tehran and the Trump administration.

US officials: Iran test-launched a medium-range missile

Iran test-launched a medium-range ballistic missile inside its borders, U.S. officials said Friday, defying Trump administration demands that it curtail the weapon program and demonstrating its intent to further push back against U.S. sanctions. The test came amid heightened tensions between Iran and

Iran tests medium-range missile, U.S. official tells media – Iran – Haaretz.com

Test of Shahab-3, which Israel says is nuclear capable, comes amid rising tensions in the region

Iran test-launched a medium-range missile: US officials – World – DAWN.COM

Iran test-launched a medium-range ballistic missile inside its borders, US officials said on Friday, defying Trump administration demands that it curtail the weapon programme and demonstrating its intent to further push back against US sanctions. The test came amid heightened tensions between Iran and the West, mainly regarding the safety of commercial shipping in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz. Iran has responded to stepped-up US economic sanctions with a variety of military moves, and the Shahab-3 missile test launch could be considered another signal from Tehran that it will not back down. The US officials who confirmed the missile launch spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive information. The White House said in a brief statement that it was aware of reports of a projectile launched in Iran, but White House officials declined to comment further.

Iran World War 3 latest: Missile fired in menacing threat to West | World | News | Express.co.uk

IRAN has fired a missile that travelled 1,000km (620miles) in a test late on Wednesday according to reports.

Iran confirms it conducted ballistic missile test, says it needs ‘no one’s permission’ – Daily Sabah

Iran said missile tests were part of its defensive needs and were not directed against any country after Washington said Tehran had test-fired a…

Iran says its missile tests are ‘entirely defensive, not against any country’ | The Times of Israel

After US officials say Tehran fired Shahab-3 ballistic missile, sources in the Islamic Republic say weapons are meant ‘only to respond to aggression’

The Latest: Royal Navy warship sent to protect Gulf shipping

VIENNA (AP) — The Latest on tensions in the Persian Gulf and over the 2015 Iran nuclear accord (all times local): 12:15 p.m. A Royal Navy warship has arrived in the Persian Gulf to…

Second Royal Navy warship HMS Duncan arrives to protect UK boats in Gulf after tanker seized by Iran – The Sun

A SECOND warship has arrived in the Strait of Hormuz to protect British ships nine days after the Iranian seizure of a tanker. The Ministry of Defence said the Royal Navy vessel HMS Duncan has now arrived in the Gulf to travel with ships flying under the British flag.

HMS Duncan is a type 45 destroyer equipped with anti-air and anti-ship missiles

Royal Navy warship escorts two Brit tankers through the Gulf hours after Boris Johnson ramps up protection from Iran attacks – The Sun

DRAMATIC footage shows the moment a Royal Navy warship escorted two British tankers through the Persian Gulf amid continuing tensions with Iran. Boris Johnson yesterday ordered that all British-flagged vessels travelling through the Strait of Hormuz be accompanied after the seizure of a British vessel last week.

UK Navy Will Accompany All British Merchant Ships Through Strait of Hormuz to Avoid Iran Attack

World Terrorism has made the headlines for years. Read about Iran terrorism and protests from the source. Iran Focus is the opposition’s word. Click here for more.

Russian Embassy Visits Russian Crew Members Of British Vessel Seized By Iran

Representatives of the Russian Embassy in Tehran have visited three Russian crew members from the British vessel Stena Impero who were detained by Iran.

China’s Iran oil imports plunge as U.S. sanctions bite – Reuters

China’s crude oil imports from Iran sank almost 60% in June from a year earlier, Chinese customs data showed on Saturday, following the end of a waiver on U.S. sanctions at the start of May.

Hezbollah’s chief rejects Israeli arms-smuggling claim | Lebanon News | Al Jazeera

Nasrallah denies Israel’s UN envoy’s claim that alleged Iran-backed group uses Beirut’s sea port to import arms.

Hezbollah denies using Lebanon’s port for arms smuggling – Reuters

Lebanon’s heavily armed, Iran-backed Hezbollah group on Friday denied using Beirut’s sea port to import arms in response to an accusation by Israel’s United Nations envoy this week.

Iran deal’s European signers to meet in Vienna in bid to save accord | The Times of Israel

Tehran pessimistic about deal’s prospects, while Europeans plan to raise subject of Iran’s ‘proven violations of their commitments’ amid rising Gulf tensions

Sweden in talks with Iran, Britain to de-escalate regional tension – Tehran Times

Sweden’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Wednesday announcing it is conducting talks with Iran and Britain over a Swedish-owned, British-flagged oil tanker seized by Iran to de-escalate regional tension, according to Reuters.

Omani Diplomat in Iran Amid Tanker Crisis in Persian Gulf | Newsmax.com

Omani Diplomat in Iran Amid Tanker Crisis in Persian Gulf

Oman’s top diplomat talks to Iran during mounting tensions – Middle East – Jerusalem Post

Oman maintains friendly ties with both the United States and Iran and has previously been a go-between for the two countries.

Iran complains Mideast neighbors making diplomacy impossible | The Times of Israel

Top Tehran security official holds talks with Omani minister in charge of foreign affairs amid escalating tanker crisis

Iran to Seek Legal Action as British Court’s Ruling Halts UK Payments for Botched Military Contract – Sputnik International

The two countries relations recently took a turn for the worse after British authorities in Gibraltar detained a tanker, carrying Iranian oil, over suspicions of violating EU sanctions, a move that Tehran has slammed as “illegal”.

Iran to Take Legal Action against UK Ruling on Old Defense Deals: Envoy – Politics news – Tasnim News Agency

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iranian Ambassador to London Hamid Baeidinejad said the country will take legal action against a British court ruling on a series of defense deals signed between the two countries before the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

 

In the dangerous game Iran is playing in the Gulf, the next move is the West’s | JNS.org

Emily Landau, a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies, warns that America must stand firm and “not relent,” saying the Trump administration needs to understand how the regime can “twist things, making it seem there are concessions when there are absolutely no concessions at all.”

There are surprising signs that Trump’s maximum pressure on Iran could lead to talks

To get there, however, Trump will have to navigate the greatest perils in U.S.-Iranian relations in recent memory – something he has done so far with a military restraint that has confounded his critics, Atlantic Council CEO Frederick Kempe writes

‘Maximum Pressure’ on Iran has failed — here’s what should come next | TheHill

By assessing the results of the “maximum pressure” campaign alongside its lofty objectives, a new path forward emerges.

Trump’s ‘maximum pressure’ campaign against Iran comes to critical crossroads | The Times of Israel

Administration must decide Thursday whether it will nix sanctions waivers to foreign companies working on civilian nuclear program, thereby risking an escalation with Tehran

Trump’s Iran Moment

Surprising new signs are emerging that President Trump’s controversial “maximum pressure” campaign on Iran could set the table for new negotiations toward a better agreement. To get there, however, President Trump will have to navigate the greatest perils in US-Iranian relations in recent memory, something he has done so far with a military restraint that has confounded his critics and gained him praise for “prudence” even from Iran’s foreign minister. Since late April, when the Trump administration ended waivers for eight countries that allowed them to continue to buy Iranian oil, Tehran’s exports have nosedived to some 300,000 barrels a day from more than a million previously. Its economy has shrunk by 6%, and its currency has lost 60% of its value over the past year. The immediate impact of that escalated US economic pressure has been the most dangerous ratcheting up of Iran’s threatening activities in memory, which one senior US official explains as Tehran “punching its way toward new talks.” Iran has begun to breach the nuclear deal’s enrichment restrictions, it shot down an American drone, and it now has seized a British tanker. This week, Tehranannounced plans to execute a ring of alleged CIA spies. Beyond that, Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen have been using drones and missiles provided to them by Tehran to strike Saudi targets such as airfields, pipelines and pumping stations. Iranian trained and financed Shia militias are firing rockets at US bases, and Israeli security officials have told former US official Dennis Ross that the Iranian-backed group Islamic Jihad is trying to provoke conflict with Israel in Gaza. None of that may look much like a prelude to the return of Iran to the negotiating table, except that Iranian officials in the last few days are showing an unexpected and public willingness to talk. Past patterns have shown that Iran never likes engaging from a position of perceived weakness. Talking to US journalists, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif last week floated the idea of a deal that would have the US easing sanctions and Iran agreeing to a tougher nuclear protocol. Then he met with Senator Rand Paul, a self-appointed US mediator. The New York Times’ Farnaz Fassihi also reports on what she regards as an intriguing split among Iranian hard-liners on how to deal with President Trump between those who have long ruled out any dealings, including the country’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, known in Washington for his Holocaust denial and anti-American and anti-Israeli fervor, as well as other conservatives clerics and officials close to the revolutionary guards who are advocating for negotiations with the US. “Mr. Trump is a man of action,” Mr. Ahmadinejad said. “He is a businessman and therefore he is capable of calculating cost-benefits and making a decision. We say to him, let’s calculate the long-term cost-benefit of our two nations and not be short-sighted.” He conceded the issues went far beyond the matter of the nuclear agreement and would require “a fundamental discussion.” Given both the present perils and the emerging potential, it’s time to transform President Trump’s maximum pressure into diplomatic activity. It’s also time to provide a more common front on Iran by taming transatlantic tensions, moderating Washington’s partisan bickering and toning down Trumpian tweets so that all parties can better leverage the indisputable economic bite of sanctions into a deal that better contains Iran and avoid war. It really doesn’t matter anymore whether you believe President Trump never should have withdrawn from President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran in May 2018, and instead should have done more to leverage it with allies and through sanctions for a better deal. (My view.) It also doesn’t matter whether you believe President Obama never should have entered such a significant agreement without more effort at bipartisan, Congressional approval. Or that US engagement with Iran failed to address the present danger of Iran’s use of regional proxies, support for terrorists or ballistic missile development. (Also, my view.) That’s water under the bridge. The question now is a larger one: What’s the best course to address the largest security challenge in the Middle East, now that the danger of an ISIS caliphate has been wrestled down. Iran’s nuclear ambitions had been an accumulating danger, but its Arab and Israeli neighbors all along argued that their more immediate worries were Tehran’s destabilizing activities in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Gaza – which continue. Even President Trump’s fiercest critics concede US unilateral sanctions have reduced the resources Iran can invest in malign activities. Intelligence intercepts and news reports have confirmed that. The world is far from the better agreement the Trump administration wants with Iran, reaching from its nuclear activities to is regional behavior, but the wallet Teheran wields is smaller. “The US is looking for a change in behavior,” said Brian Hook, the State Department’s Special Representative for Iran, at an Atlantic Council event last week alongside Bahrain’s foreign minister, Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa. “Iran would not like to change its behavior, so we are constraining its decision space through our sanctions and deterrent actions. Iran faces a choice. They can accept the diplomatic offramps we have offered over the past year, or watch the economy continue to collapse.” Lay aside all the transatlantic and domestic differences that have poisoned the Iran debate, and one is left with a simple question: how can one best alter the Iranian regime’s cost-benefit analysis and render unsustainable its support for proxies, terrorism and nuclear arms ambitions? Hard as it may be for Democrats and some Europeans to swallow, it would be better to circle the wagons than let differences cloud this opportunity. Hard as it may be for some in the Trump administration to accept, it is time for talks where maximalist positions will need to be compromised. President Trump’s maximum pressure and Iran’s escalating responses have increased the risks of conflict. They have also brought a new chance of resolution that may become the most significant test yet of President Trump’s ability to transform his disruptive foreign policy into positive outcomes. This article originally appeared on CNBC.com. Frederick Kempe is president and chief executive officer of the Atlantic Council. You can follow him on Twitter @FredKempe. Subscribe to his weekly InflectionPoints newsletter.

Iran could make or break Boris Johnson – The Washington Post

His worst mistake as foreign secretary has created an opportunity for the new prime minister.

Britain Should Not Reward Iranian Hostage-Taking – Bloomberg

Trading a legally detained ship for an unjustly seized one is a losing proposition.

Can Boris Johnson solve the crisis with Iran?

Minutes after his son was announced as the leader of the Conservative Party, Stanley Johnson made a questionable decision to appear on Press TV, an arm of Iranian state television.

Johnson will dramatically change the trajectory of Iran crisis | Arab News

Elections have consequences. And the recent ascension to power of Boris Johnson as prime minister of the UK — following his comfortable defeat of former Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt in the Conservative leadership contest — has more than most. Surprisingly, these consequences extend beyond the myopic, obsessive state of Brexit to much larger foreign policy issues, including

Iran crisis: Boris Johnson’s father offers PM tanker solution ‘Easy peasy!’ | World | News | Express.co.uk

STANLEY Johnson, father of new Prime Minister Boris Johnson, has claimed his son will solve the crisis over Iran’s seizure of UK-flagged oil tanker the Stena Impero “easy peasy” – by swapping it with an Iranian vessel boarded by Royal Marines off the coast of Gibraltar earlier this month.

Iran’s Threats Are an Attempt to Negotiate – POLITICO Magazine

The saber-rattling of the past two weeks is all part of the regime’s show. Will the Trump administration seize the moment before things get worse?

Iran’s threats are an attempt to negotiate

Although Tehran is currently dictating the tempo and intensity of escalation, what happens next depends largely on the Trump administration.

A Three-Step Guide to Deescalating the Conflict With Iran | Opinion

Trump may not court a war, but he is doing too little to avoid one. He needs to act fast.

Iranian cargo ship sinks in Caspian Sea – CNN

An Iranian cargo ship sank in the Caspian Sea near Azerbaijan’s Lankaran port on Friday, according to Iran’s state-run news agency IRNA.

Iran crisis sheds light on murky shipping rules – CNN

A British-flagged ship owned by a Swedish company was seized by Iran last week. Caught in the middle are 23 seamen who have nothing to do with any of the three countries.

UK daily warns Iranian military strength may overpower British forces amid tensions – Tehran Times

(Press TV) – The UK’s Daily Express paper has published a report, featuring a “shock chart”, illustrating that Iranian military strength may overpower that of Britain in various key aspects.

Israel says Arrow-3 missile shield passes U.S. trials, warns Iran – Reuters

Israel’s U.S.-backed Arrow-3 ballistic missile shield has passed a series of live interception tests over Alaska, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday, casting the achievement as a warning to Iran.