The Strait of Hormuz is the world’s single most important oil passageway where ships transport 30% of world oil, 17.2 million barrels per day. This includes most of the oil from Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) members — 88% of Saudi Arabia, 92% of Iran, 96% of Iraq, 99% of UAE, and all of Kuwait and Qatar the world’s biggest exporter of LNG
On Dec.4, 2018, U.S. officials announced they aim to reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero in a bid to curb the Islamic Republic’s missile program and regional influence.
The next day, Hassan Rouhani threatened to disrupt oil shipments from neighboring countries if Washington presses ahead with its goal of forcing all countries to stop buying Iranian oil. His statement was warmly welcomed by Iranian revolutionary guard corps (IRGC) commander Qasem Soleimani, stating: “If Iran’s oil exports are stopped, we will not allow the export of oil to other parts of the world through the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz.”. However, despite this hollow rhetoric, according to an industry source and tanker data, Iranian oil exports have dropped in July 2019 to as low as 100,000 barrels per day (BPD) due to sanctions and rising tension with the United States and Britain.
In the meantime, the IRGC commanders and their propaganda machine started with rhetoric such as: “The IRGC is relying upon on the use of high-speed patrol boats and mines which they are now combining with a series of new weapons and equipment. These include modern Chinese under-license built anti-ship and cruise missiles such as Qader, Noor (C-802), Nasr (C-704) and Kowsar (C-701), which can be launched from shore or from the sea using theirs near 50 Fast Patrol Boats and Missile Boats.
However, the U.S. military carried out a secret cyber strike on Iran to prevent it from interfering with shipping.
According to New York Times, American military cyber forces in June knocked out a crucial database used by Iran’s elite paramilitary force to target oil tankers and shipping traffic in the Persian Gulf hours after that force shot down a U.S. surveillance drone, according to U.S. officials.
The retaliatory strike by U.S. Cyber Command against the system used by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was approved by President Trump, who that same day called off a military airstrike against Iran because killing Iranians would not be “proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone.”
U.S. Cyber Command did not address questions on the secret operation. “As a matter of policy and for operational security, we do not discuss cyberspace operations, intelligence, or planning,” Elissa Smith, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said in a statement.
Meanwhile, hours before the hijacking of the British oil tanker in the Persian Gulf, America’s special representative for Iran Brian Hook outlined the US initiative for maritime security in the Strait of Hormuz. “This maritime security framework will enable nations to provide escort to their flagged vessels while taking advantage of the cooperation of participating nations for coordination and enhanced maritime domain awareness and surveillance. “he added.
In the meantime, teachers, students, workers unemployed and jobless youth rally every day in Iran in protest of the deteriorating economics condition, growing poverty, and government corruption. While none of their demands have been met, several human rights activists have been arrested and sentenced to long prison terms.
Today, the Iranian regime is at its weakest position; resistance Units in Iran conduct and promote the push back against the despotic rule of the Iranian regime. The National Council of Resistance (NCRI) believes regime change by the Iranian people is within reach. Therefore the EU must not follow the failed policy of appeasement, they must only put pressure on the Iranian regime and hold its leaders to account for their atrocities and terrorism at home and abroad.
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