It seems Iran is continuing its hostile behavior in and around the Gulf. Three boats believed to belong to the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) attempted to impede a British oil tanker Wednesday, July 10 near the Strait of Hormuz. Luckily for the Brits, the HMS Montrose, a British frigate, had been shadowing the tanker and moved up to intercept them.
This is just the latest hostile move by Iran in the area. Iran has also been accused of being responsible for the attack on two other tankers in June. Just a few days after that, they shot down an American drone. Each incident was, according to reports, unprovoked attacks occurring in international waters or airspace. Iran denies them all – or in the case of the drone, denies that it was in international airspace.
These attacks come at a time of heightened tensions as Iran breaches the uranium enrichment limits imposed by the nuclear agreement. Just a day before this most recent incident, Iran demanded the release of one of its own tankers being held by the British and threatened to retaliate. The IRGC denies any involvement, of course, saying that had it received orders to seize any vessel it would have done so immediately. Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, called the allegations “worthless” and accused the UK of trying to increase tension.
As the three boats approached the British Heritage, the HMS Montrose moved closer and trained its guns on them and verbal warnings were given. No shots were fired, however, as the three hostile vessels backed off.
Iran’s recent hostilities – and the fact that the country is ignoring the nuclear agreement – is being blamed mostly on Trump. Several news outlets are implying it, but US News explicitly said early Thursday morning that the “tensions are rooted in President Donald Trump’s decision last year to withdraw from the landmark nuclear agreement negotiated by the Obama administration.” Iran has demanded economic aid from Russia, China, Germany, France, the UK, and the EU as a whole to counter the sanctions put in place by the US, but they haven’t been able to make the difference.
Both the limits for stockpiled low-enriched uranium and uranium enrichment itself have already been breached, and Iran has set a deadline of early September for the other nations in on the deal to save it. But the real question now is: What act of hostility from Iran can we expect next, and against whom?