The Obama administration is so desperate to push through a nuclear deal with Iran that it is turning a blind eye to the rogue regime’s hostile actions in international waters.
On Tuesday, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps boarded, hijacked and diverted a cargo ship, registered in the Marshall Islands, to an Iranian port — essentially performing an act of piracy.
Iranian authorities claim the hijacking was due to a commercial dispute with the ship’s owner. Heritage Foundation expert Jim Phillips rejects this pretext involving a commercial dispute and noted that “even if true, that would not legally justify seizing a ship in international waters.”
Phillips believes that Iran has a more ominous motive:
[T]he Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has flexed its muscles to provoke a crisis in retaliation for U.S. backing for the Saudi-led coalition that is blockading Yemen, to prevent Iran from arming and supplying Yemen’s Houthi rebels, which Tehran has backed.
“If Iran violates international law and its own legal commitments in the strait,” Phillips asks, “why does the administration believe that it will suddenly abandon its longstanding effort to attain a nuclear weapon?”
If the Obama Administration ignores this aggression, it will be abandoning its responsibility to defend the interests of the Marshall Islands, a U.S. protectorate under a binding treaty, as well as its commitments to ensure freedom of the seas and free flow of trade.
The Obama administration needs to immediately demand the unconditional release of the hijacked ship and its crew. If they don’t, Phillips warns:
Turning a blind eye to Tehran’s latest provocation would not only betray an ally but would send a dangerous signal to Iran’s predatory regime that it can interfere with international shipping in the strait and violate international law with impunity.
CNN reports today that “U.S. Navy warships will now ‘accompany’ every U.S.-flagged commercial vessel that passes through the Strait of Hormuz.”
How do you think the administration should respond to the hijacking?