September 24, 2023

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Confrontation with Iran in the Persian Gulf: Propaganda or fact?

TEHRAN- The Associated Press recently reported that the U.S. military is considering deploying military personnel on commercial vessels passing through the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf to prevent any potential seizures by Iran. This plan would only be implemented upon request by commercial vessels to protect them. 

It’s important to note that this is not a final decision, and discussions between U.S. military officials and Arab states in the Persian Gulf are ongoing. 

The release of this report has sparked reactions among political groups and media outlets. Several media sources have analyzed the report’s details from their perspectives.

However, Iranians view the report as mere propaganda and a psychological operation rather than something genuine.
On August 4, 2023, the Washington Examiner published a report by Tom Rogan, a national security writer and online editor, discussing why the Biden administration should avoid using military personnel to guard commercial vessels passing through the Strait of Hormuz. The report lists three main reasons.

Washington Examiner reports that the plan would entail “Marines and Navy sailors [providing] the security only at the request of the ships involved”. It is expected that the main focus of the upcoming effort will be on the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), which is currently on board the USS Bataan. The MEU is anticipated to arrive in the Gulf of Oman within four to seven days.    

Washington Examiner listed three main problems for the Biden administration

As his first reason, Rogan says the U.S. military should not be used for unfit purposes like protecting commercial vessels. Though the Marine Corps and the Navy have a standing mission to protect U.S. vessels and those of the partner nations, serving sentry duty on civilian vessels is not part of their day-to-day duties. Every nation and civilian company must provide their crews and cargo with appropriate armed security.  

He stated the second reason that the U.S. Marines and Navy ship-boarding units are trained for defending and seizing vessels from hostile forces, not for the role in the prospective plan by the Biden administration. The plan would be an extensive, resources-draining one degrading 26th MEU’s immediate action readiness for priority contingency operations, which diminishes readiness with the MEU’s ground combat readiness in case of emergency.

Furthermore, according to the Washington Examiner analyst, there is a more effective solution than sending marines on an indefinite mission. The United States should impose direct consequences on Iran for its actions. President Biden ought to caution Iran that any naval units sent out by Iran will be destroyed, prompting Iran to reconsider its actions. 

The third reason for Rogan seems funny because Iran does not seize any vessel without justification. Secondly, threats cannot halt Iran from its decisions! Iran is determined to protect its territorial waters and ensure regional maritime security. The Islamic Republic of Iran Army (AJA) and the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) are at the highest level of readiness. They have proven earnest about protecting Iran’s interests in the Persian Gulf. 

The U.S. officials, being familiar with Iran’s authority, will not be superficial about the prospective plan of deploying military personnel and make a hasty decision because any miscalculation on their part will escalate tensions. There is no doubt that Iran will neutralize any threat and will not allow any country to weaken its deterrence power and territorial integrity, so any miscalculation on the part of the U.S. can end in their humiliation. 

In January 2016, the United States already saw the determination of Iran when the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) detained U.S. sailors who were around the Farsi Island in the Persian Gulf; U.S. officials also did not forget the downing of RQ-4 Global Hawk, used for surveillance missions, near the Strait of Hormuz on June 20, 2019.

Once again, after the martyrdom of General Qassem Soleimani, Iran showcased its authority and determination on January 8, 2020, by destroying the Ain al-Asad U.S. base in a military operation named “Operation Martyr Soleimani” with several ballistic missiles. While within 70 years, no country [even the superpowers] dared to fire a bullet at the U.S. military.  

Since there is no doubt in Iran’s determination to protect the security of the Persian Gulf, any miscalculation by the United States under the pretext of guarding the commercial vessels in the Strait of Hormuz can escalate tensions. If the U.S. insists on implementing this plan, its Marines will be detained or killed by the Iranian military if they resist, which is an arm and leg price for the U.S. miscalculations toward Iran. Iran’s military strength has grown through its reliance on indigenized knowledge. Iran now possesses an acceptable level of deterrence; therefore, if the U.S. is planning to weaken the deterrence of Iran, and through that, the U.S. wants Iran to close an eye on U.S. violations in the region, it must be said that the White House has made a big mistake and insisting on implementing the prospective plan will cause big trouble for them.

The United States is familiar with the strength of the Islamic Republic and will probably be cautious in confronting Iran. Still, long after the seizure of an Iranian crude oil cargo off the coast of Texas, there is no buyers as they fear Tehran’s retaliatory response! 

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