When Iran wants some attention from the rest of the world, they have a few simple actions that they take. They make all kinds of threats and they begin to take hostages. A South Korean tanker was making its way through the Strait of Hormuz before it was seized by the Iranians. “The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said it detained the Hankuk Chemi vessel at 10 a.m. local time on Monday “due to repeated violations of marine environmental laws.”
The vessel was carrying 7,200 tons of petrochemicals from Jubail in Saudi Arabia when it was intercepted, the IRGC said. The guard corps took it to Bandar Abbas port in Iran, the semi-official Fars News Agency said. Crew members from Korea, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Myanmar were arrested, according to Iran’s Tasnim News Agency,” Bloomberg reports.
This is not a random seizure by any stretch of the imagination. According to AP News, a negotiation is currently taking place between Iran and South Korea. “Tehran said a South Korean diplomat was expected to visit in the coming days to negotiate the release of billions of dollars in its assets now frozen in Seoul,” says their report.
We are that the tanker release is going to be used as a bargaining chip going forward. Before the tanker was seized, Iran also made an announcement. They are now going to move up the enrichment level of uranium up to 20 percent. TimesofIsrael has a report on this matter and it is disconcerting to anyone who pays close attention to foreign affairs.
“The state-run IRNA news agency on Monday quoted Ali Rabiei saying President Hassan Rouhani had given the order for the move at the Fordo facility…Uranium enriched to 20% is far below the 90% needed to construct nuclear bombs, but the jump from 20% to 90% is actually rather quick compared to the work needed to move from 4% to 20%.
Since the assassination in late November of Iranian nuclear physicist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, which Iran has blamed on Israel, hardliners in Tehran pledged a response, and parliament passed a controversial law calling for the production and storage of “at least 120 kilograms per year of 20 percent enriched uranium” and to “put an end” to the IAEA inspections intended to check that the country is not developing an atomic bomb,” says TimesofIsrael.
The demands that are being made by Iran are relatively easy to understand. They want to seize control of the region by any means necessary. If they are unsuccessful in their early attempts, they are simply going to build a bomb. The terms of engagement could not be more clear here. The Biden administration is also planning on removing sanctions on Iran once he is president.
Of course, there are leaders in the region that are very worried about what will happen if the sanctions are removed. Per the New Yorker: “If Biden formally reёnters the accord, Tehran is nervous about what rights that gives any future U.S. President, notably the ability to demand that the whole world impose “snapback” sanctions.
The deal allows any one of the six powers that negotiated the deal—Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia, and the U.S.—to call for “snapback” sanctions if it believes Iran is cheating; the other five countries automatically have to comply. The Trump Administration invoked “snapback” sanctions in September, but, because the U.S. had previously withdrawn from the deal, the other parties refused to comply.
“We don’t know who is going to be President four years from now,” Hadian told me. “So we don’t want the U.S. to have the right to ‘snapback.’ ” Iran’s new position, a person familiar with Biden’s thinking told me, “adds confusion when the benefit of what Biden proposes is clarity. The Iranians are hurting their own case. It’s a bizarre interpretation and will slow everything down.”
Iran is now directly violating the agreement. Are the other members going to do anything about it? We sure do long for the days when people would refuse to negotiate with terrorists!