By Pooya Stone
Saudi Arabia urged the international community on Tuesday to do whatever is necessary to stop Iran’s violations of maritime navigation laws.
In a meeting chaired by King Salman bin Abdulaziz, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, the Saudi cabinet said that Iran’s interception of commercial vessels in Gulf waters, including most recently the seizure of a British tanker, violated international law and must be stopped.
The cabinet said in a statement: “Any disruption of the freedom of international maritime traffic is considered a violation of international law and the international community must do what is necessary to reject it and deter it.”
The meeting, held in Neom, came just one day after the UK called for a European-led naval mission to protect shipping in the Strait of Hormuz, where one-fifth of the world’s total oil supply is transported.
Iran claimed on Friday that it has captured the British-flagged tanker Stena Impero, which was headed to a Saudi Arabian port, for breaking marriageable law by ramming an Iranian fishing vessel and refusing to stop to help the crew when they radioed for help; a story that seems unlikely. Britain said this was an act of “state piracy” and any belief it's in relation for the UK’s seizure of an Iranian tanker at the beginning of the month that violated EU sanctions on Syria.
The Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), a US-designated terror group, then boarded the British tanked and diverted it to an Iranian port.
Iran released a video to show that the crew were okay, but it is staged and even includes a scene of the Iranian flag bein raised on the tanker, so many fear the sailors were under duress when it was made. The owner of the tanker is still awaiting permission to visit the crew.
Ali Akbar Velayati, a top adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, praised the seizure of the British-flagged tanker during a meeting with terror group Hamas on Tuesday.
He said: “Islamic countries and the resistance front are today stronger than before as shown by the seizure of the British oil tanker… which are milestones in the history of Muslims’ struggle.”
Meanwhile, the Iraqi oil ministry said Tuesday that Iran had reassured Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi that freedom of international maritime navigation in the Gulf would not be a problem.
Of course, the majority of Muslims do not feel this way and look on the West as allies in the fight against Iran, which should not be trusted to keep the waterways open and secure.