The incident began with the Iranians ordering the ship into Iranian waters. When the ships master refused, the Iranians began to fire in a way to try to disable the ship, not just as warning shots, the U.S. official said.
Several shots hit the cargo ship, but did not disable it. The ship went into UAE waters and the Iranians followed it into those territorial waters, continuing to fire, before breaking off.
The Khamenei style makes for a bad movie, but, nonetheless, a movie in the making appears to be what the chest-thumper script follows. Repeatedly. Recall the 2007 header, “Iran seizes 15 British marines and sailors” (Aref Mohammed, Reuters, March 23); drift back to 2004 (thanks, Wikipedia): “2004 Iranian seizure of Royal Navy personnel”; and more recently in the news: Maersk Tigris, a cargo ship (the incident took place between April and May this year), Maersk Kensington (CNN URL dated April 29).
A senior Iranian military official warned that any effort to board a Yemen-bound ship – supposedly filled with aid supplies – would “spark a fire,” amid speculation that Tehran is using the shipment to try to provoke an incident.
One U.S. official told Fox News the Iranian ship has media aboard.
“Iran is begging for us to board the ship. This is all for show,” he said.
From the same piece: “”I bluntly declare that the self-restraint of Islamic Republic of Iran is not limitless,” Gen. Masoud Jazayeri, the deputy chief of staff, told Iran’s Arabic-language Al-Alam state TV late Tuesday.”
There should be no question about the defects in personality involved in Iranian belligerence and its version of military and political reality testing in service to extraordinary kleptocracy and political manipulation in turn associated with an equally ambitious and piratical expansionism.
Connect the dots:
- a little elbowing at sea;
- some war by proxy in Yemen to rub away the buffer and mess around with the margin of Saudi power;
- a seemingly limitless supply of anti-Semitic bile targeting Israel that parallels possible (probable?) military science development in rocketry (fast reference: Sweetman, Bill: “Controversy Continues Over Iran’s Rockets and Weapons: Nuclear deal with Tehran will not eliminate all threats”, Aviation Week, February 17, 2015) and the maintenance of a nuclear bomb assembling capability;
- add the demonstration of callousness and ruthlessness associated with the Syrian tragedy (shaped by Putin-Assad-Khamenei to produce a polarized “Assad vs The Terrorists” image diverting the initial and popular 2011 push for the reform of the Assad regime).
The Ayatollah appears incapable of restraint except when confronted with the prospect of main force — and the smaller parts of “main force” — “diplomacy”, sanctions, excoriations — appear of little concern given the regime’s comfortability with its criminality, limitless ambitions, and largely unimpeded operating style.
# # #