August 4, 2023

NIAC Statement on Persian Gulf Militarization

Washington, DC – Ryan Costello, Policy Director with the National Iranian American Council, issued the following statement regarding reports that U.S. Marines would imbed with oil tankers transiting the Persian Gulf, following tit for tat seizures of oil tankers from the U.S. and Iran in recent months:

“The enforcement of unilateral U.S. sanctions on Iran, in contravention of a UN Security Council Resolution, has sparked escalating tensions on the high seas that further jeopardize U.S. interests, erode any semblance of an international rules based order, and invite an endless spiral of confrontation.

“The recent escalation of Iranian threats to commercial shipping did not come out of the blue, but was triggered by the U.S. seizure of an Iranian oil tanker in April to enforce U.S. unilateral sanctions on Iran – an incident that may have been attempted again in July. However deplorable the actions of the Islamic Republic, it should have surprised no one that Iran reciprocated U.S. seizures with its own threats against tankers on the basis of similar claims of enforcing its domestic laws. The answer to this challenge is not doubling down on military force and ‘might makes right’ lawlessness in close proximity to Iran’s territorial waters.

“The U.S. unilateral “maximum pressure” sanctions policy initiated by the Trump Administration and continued by the Biden Administration is not sustainable. As we are witnessing, its enforcement leads to increased military tensions and lays the tripwires for war. A diplomatic off-ramp to reduce tensions and end the vicious cycle of violence and lawlessness must be the top priority for all parties.

“If diplomacy is the Biden administration’s preferred method for resolving crises with Iran, as it professes, it needs to spend less time investing in increasingly volatile sanctions on Iran and more on how to avert a dangerous escalatory spiral.”


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