Talking Points:Iranian Piracy and Terror

On Friday, in the Straits of Hormuz, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard seized the Stena Impero, a British flagged oil tanker as well as a second tanker that was later released.  Charts have shown that the ship was undoubtedly in Omani waters, making the seizure by Iranian forces a clear violation of international law.  Iran’s seizure and detention of the ship and crew is just another addition to the long list of belligerent actions by the regime in Tehran which has shown a blatant disregard for international laws and norms.

At Christians United for Israel (CUFI), we have repeatedly raised the issue of Iranian aggression and state sponsorship of terror.  We opposed the Iran deal because there is nothing in this regime’s behavior that gives grounds for any trust or confidence and nothing in the deal that would make it truly enforceable.  When a regime continues to bankroll terrorists as a matter of consistent policy, can we take their word when they claim that they will not pursue the world’s deadliest weapon?

In the last week, we marked 25 years since the AMIA bombing in Buenos Aires, Argentina — the deadliest terror attack on that nation’s soil – where 85 people were killed and hundreds injured.  Evidence suggests that Hezbollah carried out the attack on the orders of Iran.

25 years since, we have seen and continue to see Iran’s leaders continue to use barefaced aggression and bullying tactics to blackmail the international community.  Presently, the focal point of this aggression is the Straits of Hormuz: the narrow strait, just 21 nautical miles in width, provides the only sea passage from the Persian Gulf to the open ocean, an advantage Iran is exploiting.  Last month, a US Naval drone was shot down over the Straits by Iran, and after the seizure of the tankers in Omani waters, all vessels traversing the Strait are now under threat from Iranian forces.

As British leaders meet to prepare a response to the crisis, intelligence sources have warned that Iran-backed terrorist cells could be deployed to launch attacks in the UK if the crisis between London and Tehran worsens. Iran’s close embrace of terror groups was further highlighted on Sunday as Hamas deputy chief Saleh al-Arouri was in Tehran meeting the leadership of the regime. During his visit, he told the state news agency that Iran and Hamas are on “the same path” in opposing Israel.

Finally, the regime in Tehran announced on Monday that it had detained 17 Iranian citizens accused of acting as spies for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), a claim that President Trump dismissed as “Totally False.”  With Iran’s draconian laws and disregard for human rights, it is expected that what seems to be purely a propaganda stunt by the regime will lead to the suffering and possible execution of some of the accused.

Iran continues to spread its tentacles of terror in the region and beyond, and day-by-day becomes more emboldened in its actions.  It remains no secret that Israel remains Iran’s primary target in the region, but the Islamic Republic’s hatred for the United States is no less bitter, as recent events demonstrate.