iranian demarche & moa sitrep

Tehran Summons British Ambassador Over UK’s Stance on Incident in Oman Gulf – Report
Apoutnik News, Jun 15 2019

On Friday, the UK Foreign Office accused the IRGC of attacking tankers in the Gulf of Oman, adding that Tehran had already conducted attacks on oil tankers before. ISNA reported Saturday:

Iran’s Foreign Ministry summoned the UK ambassador to Tehran. During the meeting, Iran strongly criticised Britain’s unacceptable stance regarding the attacks in the Gulf of Oman. No other country but Britain has supported Pindostan’s accusations over the attacks.

According to the report, the decision to summon the envoy was made following an accusation made by UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt that the IRGC was “almost certainly” behind the attacks. Following the incident with the oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, Pindostan immediately pinned the blame on Iran, claiming that this assessment was based on intelligence. This position was echoed by the UK Foreign Office in a statement on Jun 14:

It is almost certain that the IRGC, a branch of the Iranian military, attacked the two tankers on Jun 13. No other state or non-state actor could plausibly have been responsible.

Rouhani said that Pindostan was taking steps to undermine stability in the Middle East and the whole world. Also on Saturday, citing unnamed sources, the Daily Star reported that the UK’s Royal Marines were being deployed to the Gulf of Oman. The incident near the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic waterway that links the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf, took place on Thursday. Front Altair and another tanker, Japanese-operated Kokuka Courageous, were hit by explosions and caught fire.

How Trump’s “Maximum Pressure” Campaign Against Iran Now Works Against Him
Moon of Alabama, Jun 16 2019

There is no evidence that Iran was behind Friday’s attack on tankers in the Gulf of Oman. There are many parties in the Middle East and in the United States who are interested in goading Pindostan into a military confrontation with Iran. Most of these parties have the capability to launch clandestine attacks on civilian vessels. That the Pindo government would blame Iran for any such attack is obvious. But even Israeli analysts doubt that Iran is responsible for the recent incidents. The German government doubts that video that Pindostan presented shows anything of significance. Others point at the suspicious timing of the incident. Israel is of course the foremost candidate for such a false-flag attack. Netanyahoo agitated against Iran for the last 25 years. He multiple times threatened to directly attack the country but would prefer that Pindostan do so. Mossad is capable of far-reaching operations. Israel’s submarines are known to have operated in the Arab Sea. The Toads are under pressure from Houthis at their southern borders. The Houthis receive some material support from Iran. If Pindostan attacked Iran, the Toads would be relieved. They need oil prices way above the current $60 to finance their state. Anything that drives up the price, like the tanker attacks, is obviously in their interest. The murder of Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey demonstrated that the Toads developed extensive clandestine capabilities and have no qualms to use them. The Toads’ partner in crime in Yemen are the UAE, under the ruthless control of MbZ, a major instigator of the anti-Iranian Pindo policies. MbZ hired Eric Prince, a former Navy SEAL, a military operator trained in clandestine operations at sea, to build him a mercenary army. Secretly putting a sticky bomb onto some ship is exactly what SEALs learn to do. Trump hired several Iran-haters into his administration. Bolton has for years agitated for regime change in Tehran. Bolton is known for circumventing the Sec Def and the Joint Chiefs, communicating directly with lower levels in the military and with its regional commanders. CENTCOM now claims:

A modified Iranian SA-7 surface-to-air missile attempted to shoot down a Pindo MQ-9 (Reaper armed drone) at 6:45 am local time on Jun 13 over the Gulf of Oman, to disrupt surveillance of the IRGC attack on the M/T Kokuka Courageous.

That must be right. Just like the CENTCOM claim that the tankers were damaged by limpet mines, which are ineffective when used above the waterline of a ship. The Japanese owner of the Kokuka Courageous says that CENTCOM lies, and that the ship was attacked by “flying objects.” The MQ9 is also capable of firing missiles. If the new CENTCOM claim is true, where is the drone video of the “Iranian attack”? How can we be sure that it wasn’t a Pindo drone that fired missiles at the Japanese ship? There is of course also the CIA. Two years ago it formed a new mission center to attack Iran:

The Iran Mission Center will bring together analysts, operations personnel and specialists from across the CIA to bring to bear the range of the agency’s capabilities, including covert action. To lead the new group, Pompeo picked a veteran intelligence officer, Michael D’Andrea, who recently oversaw the agency’s program of lethal drone strikes and has been credited by many of his peers for successes against AQ in Pindostan’s long campaign against the terrorist group. D’Andrea, a former director of the CIA’s Counter-Terrorism Center, is known among peers as a demanding but effective manager, and a convert to Islam who works long hours. Some Pindo boxtops have expressed concern over what they perceive as his aggressive stance toward Iran.

One wonders what D’Andrea, with his experience in directing drone strikes, worked on throughout the last two years. What operations did he plan? We know that false flags attacks are as Pindo as apple pie. The Boston Tea Party was committed by colonial settlers camouflaged as Indians. Remember the Maine? The Gulf of Tonkin “attack” that never happened? The fake CW attacks staged by paid actors to then be blamed on the Syrian government? There are also a number of non-state actors who might have been involved in the tanker attacks. MeK is known for committing terrorist attacks against Iran. But it is not the only group. Over the last two year alone Baluch terrorists at the Pakistani Iranian border, Arab separatists of the Ahvaz movement, the Daesh and Kurdish groups all launched terror attacks against Iran. All these groups are financed by one or the other state actors listed above. With practically unlimited money available, they all might have developed the necessary capabilities to damage some tanker. All the above actors have motives and the potential capability to launch attacks that they can then blame on Iran. It is no wonder then that everyone calls bullshit when Pompeo claims that “only Iran” could have done it. There is simply no evidence, as in zero, that Iran committed the attacks. It is also no wonder then that even avid MoA readers doubt this authors reporting that Iran’s new strategy is to put “maximum pressure” on Trump. It sounded outlandish when it was first developed in the update to this post. But if one puts oneself into the shoes of Iranian decision-makers, it suddenly becomes a realistic assessment. A day after our first reporting on the new Iranian strategy, Asia Times confirmed that the concept exists:

This kind of non-lethal warning, which caused a spike in oil prices, has been in the hardline Iranian playbook since the Trump administration signaled it would take steps to squeeze the Islamic republic’s ability to sell its petroleum. an Iranian source told Asia Times: “It was being debated even before the oil waivers were revoked, but largely as a possible response to an attempt to zero Iran’s exports.”

The idea behind this, says the source, is to push the Toads to tell Trump to lower the pressure on Iran. The source said:

If MBZ tells Trump that it’s time to slow down the maximum pressure policy, that is very different than Abe calling for negotiations.

But to slow down Trump’s maximum pressure policy against Iran is not sufficient. We argued that Iran wants to eliminate Trump’s maximum pressure campaign, by putting maximum pressure on Trump. Elijah Magnier is known to have access to high-level sources in Tehran. He reported last night the following polemic from informed sources close to Iranian decision-makers:

In the words of Pres Rouhani and Ali Akbar Velayati, “If Iran can’t export oil through the Persian Gulf, no-one in the Middle East will be able do this.” We expect further attacks in the future, given the Pindo decision to stop the flow of oil by all means at all costs. Thus, oil will stop being delivered to the world if Iran can’t export its 2Mb/d. Tensions in the Gulf can be eased only when sanctions are lifted on Iran. Otherwise, more objectives may be targeted and the level of tension will gradually increase. If Iran is in pain, the rest of the world will suffer equally. President Trump is betting on maintaining the status quo, but this doesn’t suit Iran, because its economy will suffer dearly. Binding the deep economic wound and holding on until Trump ends his first mandate is playing into Trump’s hand, and this is not going to happen. The tension in the Gulf was generated when Trump decided to pull out of the nuclear deal. Let him pay the price now. If Iran cannot export its crude oil, it means the country must be ready for war.

Iran tells Trump that if he wants maximum pressure, Iran is able to deliver it. No Iranian official will of course ever confirm this publicly. What makes the situation confusing and the reasoning counter-intuitive is that Iran and some of its enemies now have the very same tactical interests. Both sides now want to increase the heat in the region. That guarantees that more such attacks will happen. There are many, many potential targets for this campaign. Iran’s enemies hope that more attacks on tankers will goad Trump and his British sidekicks into a military conflict with Iran. Iran calculates that Trump will see the danger and recognize that such a conflict would ruin his presidency, and then he will accept that he has to revoke the sanctions and rejoin the nuclear deal to avoid to be blamed for unprecedented oil prices and catastrophic consequences for the global economy. We can expect that the cat and mouse game will continue throughout the next twelve months. Trump will be under pressure from both sides. Next spring or summer is the last moment for him to decide either way. Until then we will see more casualties of this new tanker war. Iran’s enemies as well as Iran itself now have an interest that more attacks on tankers happen, but unless there is very convincing independent evidence we will never know who has committed them. There are simply too many players who have means and motives to make such attacks happen. All of them have plausible reasons to damage more ships. All of them have plausible deniability. It is this what makes the current situation so dangerous. Luckily the problem can be easily solved. The one who caused this conflict is Donald Trump. He is also the one who can immediately end it.

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