Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif's Bluster - Max Boot
- On Tuesday, Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps gunboats seized the Maersk Tigris, a Marshall Islands-registered container ship that was transiting through the Straits of Hormuz.
- On Wednesday, speaking in New York, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif made it seem as if a nuclear agreement is a done deal - on Iran's terms.
- Zarif made clear that the lifting of sanctions would occur within weeks of the agreement being signed (contrary to White House claims that sanctions relief would be phased), while also mocking Obama's claims that sanctions could "snap back" in the event of Iranian violations: "If people are worrying about snapback, they should be worrying about the U.S. violating its obligations and us snapping back," he said.
- Both are evidence of Iranian arrogance: by hijacking a ship registered to an American protectorate and then lecturing American leaders that they will have to abide by Iran's terms for a nuclear deal - or else. This is not the way Iran would talk or act if it feared the U.S., but plainly it doesn't. It is indicative of where we stand that there has been nary a peep of protest about the hijacking of the Maersk Tigris.
- The very reason why Iran was able to hijack the negotiations to legitimate its illegal nuclear program is precisely because the U.S. has spent years turning the other cheek at Iranian aggression. That's why Iran's foreign minister feels free to come to New York and act like a haughty master of the universe.
The writer is a senior fellow in national security studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Iran Seizes Cargo Ship in Strait of Hormuz - Missy Ryan and William Branigin
The Maersk Tigris, a Marshall Islands-flagged container ship, was intercepted by patrol ships from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy, fired upon and then boarded by Iranian forces in the Strait of Hormuz, the Pentagon said Tuesday. Iran's Fars news agency said Iran was taking the ship to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas.
The Pirates of Tehran - Editorial
Apologists for Iran will no doubt ascribe the seizure of the Tigris to "hardline factions" within the regime. That might be true, but it only underscores the futility of striking a nuclear deal with a regime in which the hardliners can operate with impunity. Iran's disdain for basic maritime conventions is a good indicator of how it will treat any agreement it signs. Pirates don't keep their word, and it's dangerous to bargain as if they will.
[Iranian] commanders have threatened to sink U.S. ships and send American soldiers home in coffins. Recently – with the nuclear talks at full speed – Iran conducted a large naval exercise in which it sank a mockup of a U.S. aircraft carrier. Here, too, the United States chose not to react.
The Marshall Islands' cautionary tale - Caroline B. Glick