March 25, 2023

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 Legal analysis on whether Iran can close Hormuz Strait

“International waterways include lakes, rivers, and international straits that are between two or more countries and international straits are one of the most important examples of international waterways,” a senior expert in international law writes in Farhikhtegan as he points to the legal debates about the possibility of closing the Strait of Hormuz by Iran.

Mohsen Akbari says according to the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention (LOSC), straits that are important for international maritime traffic are subject to legal regulations.
Based on paragraph 4 of Article 16 of the Geneva Convention, the seas and waterways that connect open waters to each other or to the territorial sea of a country are classified as international waterways.
According to this definition, the Strait of Hormuz is among international straits.

Akbari then refers to the disagreement between international law experts about whether or not to close this waterway and writes:

If ships pass through a waterway without causing any trouble and do not harm the security of the coastal state, the government of that country cannot impose regulations for the passage of ships.
Military experts believe that the option of blocking the Strait of Hormuz, although it can be one of the possible tactics of Iran to counter a possible attack by other countries, it is not the first option because national security experts at the Heritage Foundation believe that Iran has a lot of options. They say Iran can disrupt the passage of oil tankers and cause a shock in the oil market.
Therefore, as long as there is no threat to Iran’s security from foreign enemies, Tehran is not able to block the Strait of Hormuz.

Etela’at: Europe’s goals and interests in the Persian Gulf

Two years ago, the European Union for the first time unveiled a comprehensive strategy in which the future relations of the Union with the member states of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council had been designated in various fields, from security areas to trade and climate issues, Etela’at said in a commentary.

The new strategy was named “Strategic Partnership with the [Persian] Gulf”, according to which the EU will increase its diplomatic presence in the region. 

This increase in presence started from the cementing of ties with Qatar in 2022 and it is going to be extended to the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait in 2023.

By developing relations with the Persian Gulf countries, Europe aims to achieve its political and military goals.

European countries are trying to reduce the tensions between the members of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council and to direct the positions of the council towards various issues, including relationship with Iran and approach toward the JCPOA, Palestine and the relationship with Israel, national reconciliation and political stability in Iraq and other important issues. 
The newspaper also writes about Europe’s efforts to prevent Russian and Chinese influence in the Persian Gulf region, writing: In recent years, especially after America’s decision to reduce its presence in the Persian Gulf, we have seen an increase in the role of Eastern powers, especially China and Russia, in the Persian Gulf, and this has caused concern among European countries due to changes in the balance of power in the global arena. 

Although Arab countries of southern shores of the Persian Gulf, with their pragmatic and multilateralist policies, will not be influenced by Europe in development of their relations with China and Russia, and there will not be a serious change in their long-term strategy, Brussels is determined to be present actively in the region. By signing oil and gas contracts and providing part of the industrial and arms needs of these Arab countries, Brussels tries to prevent the influence of China and Russia as much as possible.

Arman-e-Melli: Grossi’s trip is a source of hope for JCPOA

The Council of Ministers of the European Union refused to include the Revolutionary Guards in its list of terrorist groups, and this is a hopeful point that shows that there is room for interaction with the Europeans, but we should not know with 100% certainty that nothing will happen, Arman-e-Melli writes.

One of the discussions raised was the 27 European prisoners in Iran, and there is a possibility that a European foreign minister to visit Iran to assess the situation.

But whether the negotiations will be held or not and how the visit of Rafael Grossi, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, will be in Tehran, it must be said: Mr. Grossi mentioned a few things that were irrelevant and suspicious. He announced that Iran’s enrichment level has reached such a level that it can make 3 nuclear weapons. This is the first time that he and the Agency have raised such an issue.

The question is why the IAEA chief did not say such things two or three months ago. This statement shows that while they want to cooperate with Iran, they can provoke the international community through such statements if they cannot get the desired result of his visit.
If Grossi does not receive answers to his questions during his trip to Tehran, he will give a report to the IAEA which may lead to the adoption a resolution by the IAEA Board of Governors and then send the issue to the UN Security Council.
Accordingly, we should pay special attention to this important issue, i.e., the connection between Grossi’s interview 3 days ago and his baseless statements and the visit to Tehran. 

Iran should not provoke Mr. Grossi. Moreover, the NATO secretary general has raised again the threat of Iran and Iranian drones in recent days.

Therefore, if Grossi comes to Tehran and reach a conclusion, there will be an opening which can raise hopes to revive the nuclear negotiations.

Javan: Systematic infanticide in Canada

In an article entitled “Systematic infanticide in Canada”, Javan refers to the discovery of mass graves of indigenous children in the North American country and writes: The tragedy is reminder of a dark and shameful chapter in the Canadian history.
This amount of systematic human rights scandal for a country, if not unprecedented in history, is at least rare.

Despite the extent of this disaster, which was referred to as genocide in the literature of international law and is one of the highest crimes recognized in international law, there has been no response from human rights organizations in this regard.

The double standard policies on the “right to life”, which is considered one of the most obvious human rights, has also undermined humanity in the West.

Korasan: Western freedom of expression, a term with two meanings

The Khorasan newspaper refers to the insults to the Muslims in some European countries, including Sweden and the Netherlands, and writes: Al-Azhar (University) in Egypt called on the citizens of the Arab world and Muslims to boycott all Dutch products and Swedish goods and take a strong position in support of the Holy Quran. 

The strong statement of Al-Azhar, which is one of the important religious and cultural centers of the Islamic world, regarding the offensive action of the extreme rightists in Sweden and the Netherlands in burning and tearing the Holy Quran, shows that the Islamic world must react decisively against the continuation of anti-Islamic actions more than in the past. 

Referring to some reactions to these insults, it writes: These protests are not enough and more effective and extensive measures should be taken to prevent the repetition of these anti-Islamic actions, which are deliberate and in line with anti-Islam actions. 

Highlighting the publication of cartoons insulting the Holy Prophet (PBUH) in the French magazine Charlie Hebdo, Khorasan wrote the move faced widespread reactions in the Muslim world, but senior Western officials such as President Emmanuel Macron of France and the foreign ministers of Sweden and the Netherlands justified it under the pretext of freedom of speech in the West.
This action of the Western authorities comes as Western countries confront any questioning of certain things such as the Holocaust and prosecute the thinkers and researchers who question it.
At the same time, Muslims’ objection to insult against the Prophet and the Quran is suppressed under the pretext of the freedom of expression.

Kayhan: America weakens its allies to remain master of the world

The U.S. policy in the world shows that it is taking steps towards creating tension, but they don’t want to be directly involved, Kayhan comments. 
The aim of the conflict is to weaken the regional and global competitors of the United States. America does not give up its position in the unipolar world easily and does not want to be an ordinary country in the multipolar world.

America is pushing its allies to confront its rivals. In East Asia, this is clearly visible among South Korea, Japan, and Australia to place them against China.

Although India now has strategic relations with the United States, it is considered an emerging power that will play the role of a competitor for America’s regional influence in the future. Weakening India and China can help rebuild the lost role of America in the world.

America definitely benefits from creating and increasing tension in the world with the aim of weakening current competitors or preventing the formation of regional power poles in the future.

Kayhan writes: America is ready to push India as its strategic ally toward further conflict with China to weaken them. Just take a look at the situation of the European Union and especially Germany in the war in Ukraine.

Germany is the largest economy in Europe. Before the Ukraine war, the European Union led by Germany, was becoming one of the powers in the future world. But by starting a war in Eastern Europe, America weakened not only Russia but also its strategic ally in Europe the case is true for India too.

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